Luna Students Can Now Use Highlands Health Center


Photo: Rick Loffredo/Highlands University
Highlands President Sam Minner, left, Lore Pease, El Centro CEO, and Ricky Serna, Luna Community College interim president, shake hands after signing an agreement that allows Luna students to use the Highlands Student Health Center run by El Centro Family Health.

Las Vegas, New Mexico –  Students at Luna Community College now have access to services at the Student Health Center at New Mexico Highlands, thanks to a new agreement between the institutions.

The memorandum of understanding signed Jan. 8 between Highlands and Luna also includes El Centro Family Health, which currently delivers medical and behavioral health services to Highlands’ students on the university’s main campus in Las Vegas.

“We recognize that there is a need for college students to access care and Highlands has had a great partnership with El Centro for 27 years,” said Kim Blea, dean of students at Highlands. “The idea for this new agreement is for the parties to work together for the mutual benefit of supporting our students’ holistic well-being through medical and behavioral health services.”

Blea said the agreement is designed to serve as a pilot project in extending services to Luna students. At Highlands, students pay a student health fee that gives them access to services. Luna students will pay their own student fee.

“El Centro is well known for the quality of its service and commitment to serving underserved populations in rural Northern New Mexico and local Las Vegas public schools. El Centro is very community minded and it’s exciting that we can now extend this kind of care to other college students in our community through this new collaboration with Luna,” Blea said.

Blea said Highlands has a strong, long-term commitment to ensure that its students are supported in every aspect of their life, including physical and emotional well-being.

Highlands University President Sam Minner said another benefit of the Highlands agreement with Luna and El Centro is that the cooperation will lead to cost savings through the shared usage of space at Highlands.

“This collaboration is an opportunity to join forces with Luna and and El Centro to provide medical and behavioral health services in a cost effective way so that students from both institutions can lead healthy lives of great meaning and purpose. This is a win-win for all of us,” Minner said.

Ricky Serna, interim president for Luna Community College said: “It’s a pilot project that allows us to gauge the long-term needs for our students in health and behavioral health services. We look forward to working with Highlands and El Centro to increase overall capacity and access to services in this region.”

El Centro Family Health was previously known as  Health Centers of Northern New Mexico.

“I’m really pleased that this new partnership will ease the stress of students going through college,” said Lore Pease, CEO for El Centro.

The new health center agreement is for spring semester 2019 with the option for the three parties to renew the pilot project if all approve.