New Mexico Delegation Announces $2.5 Million to UNM to Research Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Factors Among Native Americans

June 24, 2019
Press Release
Findings of five-year study may contribute to development of public health interventions to combat the disease, which disproportionately affects Native communities in NM

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small announced that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded approximately $2.5 million over five years to the University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Sciences Center to research chronic kidney disease risk factors among Native Americans in the southwestern United States. 

The funding, which was championed by the New Mexico delegation, will enable UNM to conduct a study to identify risk factors associated with the high incidence of chronic kidney disease prevalent among Native Americans in states such as New Mexico. The findings of the study may contribute to development of public health interventions to address the disease, which disproportionately affects Native Americans in New Mexico and the surrounding region.

“Chronic kidney disease disproportionately impacts Native Americans throughout New Mexico and the Southwest, and it’s time we invest in tackling it head on,” said Udall. “Well-funded research is the first step to strengthening evidence-based treatment options. This University of New Mexico study is essential to expanding research into chronic kidney disease, which we hope will lead to the development of public health interventions and improved quality of care for Native communities across the region. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ll keep fighting for strong federal investment to connect Indian Country to the resources it needs to combat this terrible disease.”

“I am proud to join the New Mexico delegation in announcing this incredible grant opportunity that the National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of New Mexico to put our native communities on a path to better health,” said Heinrich. “Tribal communities in New Mexico should not have to face such significant health challenges. This research money will help close the health care gap for Native Americans and lead to the prevention and early intervention of chronic kidney disease.”

“Native communities have suffered from disproportionate rates of chronic kidney disease for too long. This major health disparity highlights the immediate need to improve research for prevention and evidence-based treatment.  This critical funding for the University of New Mexico to conduct research on risk factors will help save lives and improve the overall health of Native communities,” said Assistant Speaker Luján. “I’m proud of these efforts to secure $2.5 million to bolster public health for communities across New Mexico.”

“Our families deserve to live healthy lives, but right now Native American communities in New Mexico are struggling with increased risk of chronic kidney disease,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.“This funding is an investment in the health of our people and our top-notch research institution at UNM will determine how we can improve health outcomes and tackle this growing issue.”

“Native Americans in New Mexico have struggled to access the care they need to stay healthy and the newest grant to University of New Mexico is a welcome first step in addressing the cause of the chronic kidney diseases that disproportionately affect those living with this debilitating condition,” said Torres Small.

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