Methods for addressing the social determinants of health in rural settings will be the centerpiece of an upcoming conference in Albuquerque aimed at developing policy recommendations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, chaired by former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, will meet Sept. 14-16 at the Albuquerque Marriott. The 21-member committee is charged with making policy recommendations on rural health issues to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

The committee includes two New Mexicans – Christina Campos, administrator of Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa, and Carolyn Montoya, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs in the UNM College of Nursing.

“We can no longer ignore the mounting evidence regarding the impact of social determinants, such as poverty, on health status,” Montoya says. “Having the advisory committee meeting in New Mexico affords us an opportunity to provide input into policies that may helps us move our state out from under one of the worst health outcome rankings in the country.”

The meeting will include presentations from national experts on the social determinants of health. Representatives from New Mexico community organizations will describe innovative solutions developed in rural areas of the state to meet these health challenges. 

The committee members will also visit Santa Rosa, Laguna Pueblo and Cuba. All meetings are open to the public and public comment is welcome. For the agenda and more information visit the Federal Register.