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NMSU Extension collaborating with Burrell College

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is collaborating with Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine with the common goal of providing personal health information to New Mexicans.


Man with bow tie, woman in NM State blouse
Sonja Koukel, right, New Mexico State University's Extension community and environmental health specialist, and Dr. Francisco Laboy, assistant professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine with Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, are collaborating to expand the Extension model of providing research-based information to people throughout the state. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)

One of the traditional roles of Cooperative Extension Service’s Family and Consumer Sciences specialists and agents is to provide educational programs in areas of health and wellness thereby enhancing the quality of life for people in New Mexico. Health of New Mexicans is one of the College of ACES pillars of economic and community development.

A growing number of states are linking the land-grant university Extension service with academic health centers and health care systems.

In New Mexico, two academic health centers, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of New Mexico Health Science Center Office for Community Health, are collaborating with NMSU Extension to expand the Extension Model of providing research-based information to people throughout the state.

“We have two collaborations with Burrell College currently in progress,” said Sonja Koukel, Extension Community and Environmental Health Specialist. “Dr. Francisco Laboy, assistant professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, is interested in providing community-based programs so the school’s residents can build skills that will increase health literacy with the clients they will be serving in the future.”

The first in this project was a presentation created by Mountain View Regional Medical Center resident Dr. Kate Nixon focused on a guide to over-the-counter medications that Koukel delivered to a workshop in Clovis in September.

“The information included medicinal ingredients for name-brand medications in the categories of pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep inducers, cold and cough medicines and gastrointestinal medications,” Koukel said. “Following the 45-minute presentation, Dr. Laboy was available via conference phone to answer questions from the participants.”

Future presentation topics being considered are best selection of supplements, reasons why the doctor orders so many tests, and tips for pain management.

Koukel expects the modules to become part of a curriculum that Extension county agents and trained volunteers will deliver in their communities.

The second collaboration involves introducing the Burrell pre-med students to Extension’s role in improving the quality of life for all New Mexicans.

Two Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Department associates, Lucinda Banegas-Carreon and Lourdes Olivas, are presenting programs to the 42 pre-med students focusing on the history and philosophy of Extension nationwide and in New Mexico, the benefits of the Extension model in statewide health programing, and recruitment and retention in community programing.

“Preliminary discussion with Burrell College Associate Dean Nancy Minugh-Purvis and Steven Ontiveros, assistant professor of cell biology, have also brought up the possibility of the students engaging in future Extension Health programs, such as Fit Families; Prevent T2, a diabetes prevention program; and On The Road to Living Well with Diabetes,” Koukel said.

NMSU Extension has also collaborated with the UNM Health Science Center Office for Community Health’s Health Extension Regional Officers in Bernalillo and Dona Ana counties since 2013 when the two universities signed a memorandum of understanding.

The collaborations have included programs on community education concerning Medicaid expansions, nutrition education for patients of community health centers, and support for seniors. Both Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professionals and HEROS continue to build upon this collaborative effort whenever possible.