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Photo by Alice Morillon

Jennifer Amman leads Taos School Zone mindfulness series for educators.

Following its recent surveys of Taos school teachers and staff documenting the significant stress under which school personnel have been operating during the pandemic, the teacher support team of Taos School Zone has announced a free mindfulness/de-stress online offering specifically for Taos educators.

The program involves six short videos for use by school groups as well as individuals to take a few moments to relax and de-stress.

Jennifer Ammann, a Taos teacher of Yoga, meditation and Reiki of 20 years, introduces various mindfulness practices, including breathing techniques, simple movement practices to help settle the mind into calm and meditations. Alice Morillon assisted with video production.

Julie Turner, chair of TSZ's teacher support group, said, "TSZ used teacher feedback from a pilot series to produce six shorter-duration videos that can be viewed anytime. We know how little time teachers have these days."

Taos School Zone is a collective-impact special project of Taos Community Foundation. TSZ works with nonprofits, schools and the community at large to bring existing resources together to create better outcomes for Taos kids. For more information, go to schoolzonetaos.org.

Holy Cross launches NM Bridge Program

Holy Cross Medical Center recently received a grant from the University of New Mexico and the State Opioid Response (SOR) to launch a new program in the emergency department (ED). On Feb. 26, the hospital launched the New Mexico Bridge program to address opioid-use disorder in the community. The program is designed to begin medication-assisted treatment to patients coming into the Emergency Department.

The medication stabilizes patients who may be suffering from opioid withdrawal. The overarching goal of the program is to save lives and build trust with people who are afraid to seek treatment on their own -- or people who don't know where to go. The peer support worker can also connect these individuals with other services, such as behavioral health and social services.

"The program will be first of its kind in Taos," said John Hutchinson, a Holy Cross Medical Center pharmacist and advocate for patients with substance-use disorders. "It will allow patients in need to access a solution in the form of medication-assisted treatment starting in the Emergency Department. This will help our patients by offering a solution to a complex problem that affects our community, our state and our nation. Many urban areas offer this kind of access to medication-assisted treatment, but not many rural hospitals do."

New Mexico one of six states to receive innovative data and technology improvement grant for its SNAP and WIC programs

New Mexico, along with five other states, was selected by No Kid Hungry and the American Public Human Services Association to receive an innovative technology project grant that will help reduce childhood hunger. The project leverages data and improves technology to enhance the interfaces and web services for the New Mexico Human Services Department's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps and the Department of Health's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Ultimately the project will make it possible to bidirectionally exchange participant data to help streamline and maximize program enrollment.

"No child in New Mexico should go hungry, but the pandemic has created hardships for many New Mexico families," said Deputy Secretary Angela Medrano. "This grant will assist us by enabling two computer systems from separate departments to talk to each other and help us identify individuals in need."

Once the project is completed, the Human Services Department will be able to provide more accurate and specific referral data that allows the Department of Health to conduct more proactive and effective outreach.

VIDEOS: Mindfulness techniques you can use any time:

-- Compiled by Taylor Hood

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