La Tierra Sagrada Society Awards $60,000 in Grants

October 18, 2004

Contacts: Jennifer Riordan 272-0261 office, 220-0270 cell; Bridgid Isworth 272-3690


The University of New Mexico School of Medicine's La Tierra Sagrada (LTS) Society is awarding $60,000 in grants for five projects dedicated to improving health care in the state of New Mexico.

A dinner and awards ceremony on November 10 will honor those chosen to receive the grant money.

With more than $600,000 in grant requests from 34 different proposals, La Tierra Sagrada's six-member volunteer cabinet selected projects that were believed to have the maximum impact on the School of Medicine community, as well as the ability to bring the school closer to New Mexico communities.

This year's grant award honorees are will contribute to the following projects:

$20,000 for the Care One Project (Douglas Binder, M.D.)

Care One is a new model of coordinated care targeting a medically fragile and high-risk population that requires a more specialized approach to clinical management, allowing intervention to occur before deterioration. This group represents only 1 percent of patients, but absorbs 20 percent of health care resources because of the need for crisis intervention.

$14,000 for The Integrated Environmental Health School Project (Craig Marcus, Ph.D.)

This project will develop a new curriculum model for underserved rural New Mexico middle school students. The module will use "diabetes" as the integrating context for learning exercises in math, science, social studies and language arts.


$13,000 for the Genetic Services and Education through Telemedicine  (Valerie Rappaport, M.D.)

A project to increase access to genetic counseling services and to educate outlying New Mexican prenatal care providers and patients about perinatal screening by implementing low-cost, mobile telemedicine linkages.       

$11,000 for "The Effects of Trauma on the Lives of Trauma Patients" (Gabriel Ledger, M.D., and David Doezema, M.D.)

A documentary film about the experiences of trauma patients. The film will be used to teach UNM medical students, residents and nurses about caring for trauma patients.

$ 2,000 for Professionalism Among New Mexico Physicians. (Medical Students R. Mariah North and Devon Chabot-Richards)

A research project to evaluate physicians' understanding of social activism as part of medical professionalism and discover what factors facilitate or hinder social activism in a medical career.


Founding LTS cabinet member Agnes Walker, RN, identified the difficulty in choosing between so many great projects. "With so many outstanding proposals to consider, we had a difficult time in choosing between the most deserving applicants," Walker said. "For those who weren't selected, I wanted to write them a check myself!"


Walker said that this year LTS had far more submissions than it expected and that nearly all the applicants could have been worthy recipients of grant money. "The seed money that we provide is intended to stimulate new ideas and motivate students and faculty to help their communities."


School of Medicine Dean Paul Roth was pleased with the large interest in this year's Society awards. "It just goes to show the marvelous depth in talent that we have at UNM, as well as a great desire for our students and doctors to provide care to their New Mexico communities."


The grant funding comes from annual gifts made by LTS members and 100 percent of their contributions are given directly to project applicants. This year's grant applications were accepted from UNM School of Medicine faculty, staff, residents and students.


All of the seed money provided comes from LTS members and is given directly back to applicants. This year's grant applications were accepted from UNM School of Medicine faculty, staff, residents and students.  La Tierra Sagrada, Spanish for "The Sacred Earth", was established in 1996 by Dean Paul Roth, M.D.  A member-driven organization dedicated to medical education, research and healing, 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.

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