May 3, 2005

Contact:Kelly Shannon, 272-1913; Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Obesity is one of the most pressing health problems facing the medical community today. Obesity not only increases the likelihood of life-threatening diseases like heart disease and diabetes, it also complicates existing conditions and encumbers treatment. Obese patients face a number of barriers, from equipment not designed for their special needs to increased risks of complications from anesthesia . Obesity impacts every department and every division of the UNM health care system.

La Tierra Sagrada Society, a group of community members and HSC faculty and staff dedicated to medical education, research and healing, will make grants to UNM School of Medicine projects that address obesity as it impacts health risks, health care and access to health care. Proposals are now being accepted from School of Medicine faculty, staff, residents and students for funding up to $20,000 to be allocated in October 2005.

To be given consideration, projects must collaborate with a community-based organization and advance relations between the School of Medicine and the communities it serves. Projects should provide medical outreach, improve health or health care, or support an innovative research project.

Application guidelines are available in PDF format on the La Tierra Sagrada Society website athttp://hsc.unm.edu/som/development/la_tierra.shtmlThe deadline for applications is Friday, July 29 at 12:00 noon . Proposals will be evaluated by the La Tierra Sagrada Society board of directors and the awards will be given at the annual awards dinner in October.

La Tierra Sagrada, Spanish for "The Sacred Earth," was established by Dean Roth in 1996. The society's mission is to promote the excellence of the UNM School of Medicine within the community and to provide financial assistance, fellowship and volunteerism through membership. For information about becoming a member, please call 505-272-1913 or visit the La Tierra Sagrada Society website.