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New Mexico State professor receives leadership award for substance abuse project

New Mexico State University Health Science Professor Satya Krishnan was awarded a $75,000 grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to address the mental health and substance abuse needs of New Mexico's youth.



New Mexico State University Health Science Professor Satya Krishnan was awarded a $75,000 grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to address the mental health and substance abuse needs of New Mexico's youth. (New Mexico State University photo by Diego Lucero)

ndation's Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse program named 10 fellows nationwide to receive $25,000 a year over a three-year period to develop community-based programs to combat substance abuse.


Southern New Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border area have been hit particularly hard by substance abuse, Krishnan said. Although limited data is available, between 1990 and 1997 New Mexico had the highest death rate from drugs among the states -- twice as high as the national rate.

The problem is especially critical among area teens, she said. A New Mexico school survey in 1997 indicated that 29 percent of the students had problems with alcohol.

Krishnan said she would use her fellowship to research the extent of the problem and develop a plan for a center that will provide a continuum of care for adolescents with substance abuse problems. She said it would be the first of its kind in the area to continue care after initial treatment.

"We know a serious problem exists, severely impacting the lives of so many young people in the region," Krishnan said. "But we do not have the data to pinpoint the extent of the problem, its exact causes and how to effectively remedy it."

Krishnan is an associate professor and graduate program coordinator for New Mexico State's Department of Health Science. She received her doctorate at Texas Women's University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Before joining the faculty at New Mexico State in January 1996, she worked as the project director of the Female Condom Project and the Domestic Violence Project at Columbia University School of Social Work.

Established in 1972, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grant making in four goal areas -- to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost, to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions, to promote healthy communities and lifestyles and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse.

Photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/krishnan_satya.jpg.