SOM Dean To Receive Governor's Award

September 8, 2004

Contacts: Jennifer Riordan 272-0261 office, 220-0702; Bridgid Isworth 272-3690 office


Paul Roth, M.D., dean of the UNM School of Medicine and associate vice president of the UNM Health Sciences Center, will receive the prestigious New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award (NMDPSA) from Governor Bill Richardson. Roth will accept the honor at the governor's 35th annual awards banquet on September 9.

Roth was selected for his contributions to improving health and access to health care for all New Mexicans and for public health advocacy on the national scene. He serves on the Advisory Council to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson for Public Health Preparedness, which provides input to the secretary on the nation's readiness to respond to significant public health emergencies, such as bioterrorist activities and natural disasters. Roth also has been very active in the Association of American Medical Colleges and is the chair-elect of its council of deans. He also serves as a member of the association's executive council.

As dean of the UNM School of Medicine, Roth is responsible for more than 700 clinical and basic science faculty, 1,200 students and 1,300 staff in 17 academic departments and several centers and institutes. Some of his accomplishments during his tenure as dean include:

  • Quadrupling research funding and adding more than 200,000 square feet of space devoted to research;
  • Establishing a successful diversity program that has increased the number of students from under-represented groups to approximately 30 percent of the student body;
  • Establishing the UNM Institute for Public Health and fully integrating the basic principles of public health and community service into the medical school curriculum.

In his role as associate vice president of the UNM Health Sciences Center, Roth is responsible for all aspects of the quality of care patients receive. He oversees the unified medical staff of the five hospitals within the HSC: University Hospital, Carrie Tingley Hospital, UNM Psychiatric Center, UNM Children's Psychiatric Center and the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center. Some of his accomplishments in this role include:

  • Developing an aggressive program of error reduction and patient safety
  • Implementing a novel health care delivery system to patients with chronic and complex medical conditions.


From 1982 through 1993, Roth was division chief, then chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. His greatest accomplishments in that role include:

  • Creating a residency program in emergency medicine;
  • Creating the UNM Lifeguard program - at the time, the state's only helicopter and fixed-wing transport service;
  • Working with the New Mexico Department of Health to designate University Hospital as the state's only Level I Trauma Center;
  • Creating the first civilian Disaster Medical Assistance Team in the United States. New Mexico DMAT is now the largest, most experienced and best equipped team in the nation. 

The New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award program is nonpartisan. No elected or appointed officials are allowed to receive the award while holding elected or appointed office. Individuals are nominated by their employers or by private citizens who have knowledge of the nominees' exceptional contributions to public service. Nominations are reviewed for qualifications by screening committees of the NMDPSA Council. A final selection committee, consisting of representatives from federal, state, tribal and local agencies and participating private organizations, selects award winners from the screening committee's recommendations.

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