NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 23, 2008

Contact: Luke Frank, Media Relations Manager, 505/272-3679, 505/907-9525 (cell)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Renee Ornelas, M.D., a pediatrician at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (HSC), is a recipient of the 39th Annual Governor’s New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award (NMDPSA). Ornelas will be the guest of honor at the NMDPSA banquet this November 6 at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque due to her dedication to public service and betterment of New Mexico.

Ornelas joined UNM’s Department of Pediatrics in 1989, and in 1994 established the Pa-ra Los Ninos Clinic to improve care for child victims of sexual abuse. Her dedication to young New Mexicans includes vital work with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, while teaching and mentoring high school students, undergraduate students, medical students and medical residents.

"I am so honored with this recognition, but I get my reward every day serving the kids and families I see in my clinic," Ornelas offers. "I am regularly amazed at their spirit and strength, and that's where my motivation and sense of fulfillment come from."

The primary objective of the NMDPSA Award is to recognize outstanding contributions to public service and the improvement of government at all levels by both government employees and private citizens. Individuals are nominated by their employees or by private citizens who have knowledge of their exceptional contribution.

Award nominations are reviewed for qualifications by screening committees of the NMDPSA Council and a selection committee. Since the inception of NMDPSA in 1979, 417 New Mexico citizens have been recognized.

"I want to offer my congratulations to Dr. Ornelas on her distinguished recognition for her contribution to public service," says University of New Mexico Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Paul Roth, M.D. "Every day, Dr. Ornelas goes above and beyond the call of duty with her patients and their families, and with her colleagues. This award is truly a reflection of her dedication and hard work."

For more information on the UNM Health Sciences Center, visithttp://hsc.unm.edu/.