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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Department of Public Health Sciences to honor public health heroes

The Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University will honor three public health heroes from Dońa Ana County during the fifth annual Public Health Heroes Awards, held as part of National Public Health Week. This year’s awards ceremony will take place Monday, April 1, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.


Each year, the NMSU Department of Public Health Sciences selects community health leaders to honor for their significant public health commitment, collaboration and contributions, said Cindy Kratzke, associate professor of public health and awards selection coordinator.

“The nominees are our unsung public health professionals in our county,” Kratzke said, “and they serve as role models for our students. We are pleased to recognize them.”

NMSU graduate students in Kratzke’s MHP 572 Health Communication class reviewed and selected this year’s awardee recipients in three categories. A new award will be given this year.

Lorenzo Alba, executive director of Casa de Peregrinos, will receive the Community Leader Public Health Hero Award. For 40 years, Casa de Peregrinos has been providing supplemental nutritional groceries and other services to hungry and food insecure families in Las Cruces and Dońa Ana County.

Ruben Marquez, assistant executive director of Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach, will receive the Community Rising Star Public Health Hero Award. This new award honors a professional starting out in the field of public health who contributes significantly as a leader to develop healthier communities. Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach works to provide diabetes detection, prevention, education, support and health resources for people throughout Southern New Mexico.

The Colonias Development Council and its executive director, Diana Bustamante, will receive the Outstanding Community Organization Public Health Hero Award. The Colonias Development Council’s mission is to improve quality of life through the promotion, development and preservation of adequate and affordable housing in colonia communities in Southern New Mexico while creating the space for social, economic and environmental justice initiatives.

For more information about National Public Health Week, visit http://www.nphw.org.