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New Mexico Rural Health Survey records

Identifier: HHC 320

Scope and Content

The collection consists of grant application materials, research and business records for the project as well as the minutes and notes from project staff and community member interactions and transcriptions of nurse/patient interviews. The transcriptions are in Spanish and English. Also included are publication files and ten card file boxes of coded interactions between project staff and grant subjects.


  • 1933-1964
  • Majority of material found within 1958-1963

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research with the exception of the patient identified materials.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biography / History

In the early 1950s, Dr. Marion Hotopp, Health Officer of New Mexico State Health Department, Health District #1, became aware that the patients in her district, while accepting and benefiting from advice and service relating to nutrition and immunizations, were not receptive to services relating to the prevention and control of certain orally transmissible diseases. The Health Department was not making much of an impact on the level of chronic diseases such as tuberculosis despite putting great efforts into control. Dr. Hotopp wondered if there were a communication problem.

In 1958, the National Institutes of Health awarded a grant to the New Mexico State Health Department’s Health District #1 and the University of Colorado’s Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health and Bureau of Sociological Research. The resulting project, “Changing Public Health Approaches in Work with Spanish-Americans,” started as an examination of the communication between professionally trained, English-speaking public health workers and the Spanish-speaking villagers whom they served. Initially, the project staff asked questions of District #1 lay people to discover community health beliefs. Considerable descriptive information about illness and health was compiled.

In 1960, the project narrowed activity to a single objective: “to learn how to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of communication between public health nurses and the people they serve, as a means of improving health-disease attitudes and practices.” This final phase of the project was devoted to the study of the structure and content of nurse discourse in relation to the observable outcome of patient “understanding” and cooperative behavior.”

One result of the project was a manual, “Nurse-Patient Communication: A Manual for Public Health Nurses in Northern New Mexico,” intended to provide information about some of the health-related beliefs and practices of both nurses and their patients and relatives. The manual used data from 280 recorded nurse-patient visits made from 1961 through 1963 as well as follow-up visits made by project staff to measure the extent to which selected items of nurse discourse were understood and selected behavior prescriptions were in fact carried out.

The grant ended in 1964 and Marion Hotopp gave the project materials to Consuelo Pacheco and Mary Marquez, who were the project nurses and the first Hispanic-American nurses hired by the New Mexico State Health Department. Ms. Pacheco and Ms. Marquez donated the materials to the New Mexico Health Historical Collection in 2009.


11 cubic feet


The collection represents the research and business records from a 1958 National Institutes of Health grant to study the health beliefs of a rural New Mexican area to assist the state's public health department in providing better care for chronic infectious diseases.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Adele Hartswick and Peggy McBride with funding from the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board.

The finding aid was created by Peggy McBride and Laura Hurd.
Inventory of the New Mexico Rural Health Survey Records, 1933-1964
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Peggy McBride and Laura Hurd
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center Repository

MSC 09 5100
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque New Mexico 87131 United States