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The original item was published from 4/21/2021 8:35:32 AM to 5/2/2021 12:00:01 AM.

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Public Safety

Posted on: April 21, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Las Cruces Firefighter Recognized by Social Workers Association

Firefighter of the Year

Las Cruces firefighter Paul Ford, a paramedic and coordinator for the department’s Mobile Integrated Health program, has been recognized as the ‘New Mexico Public Citizen of the Year’ by the New Mexico Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

The announcement by NASW was made March 31. According to NASW, the Public Citizen of the Year Award honors an outstanding member of the community, “whose accomplishments exemplify the values and mission of professional social work.”

Jolene Martinez, Chief Operating Officer for Families and Youth Incorporated and a member of NASW, indicated Ford was nominated for the award for, “his social work-related contributions to the MIH unit, the behavioral health collaborative and his work with families in our community.”

Ford is a firefighter, paramedic and 11-year veteran of the Las Cruces Fire Department. In 2017 he helped create the Mobile Integrated Health program that helps residents navigate health-related resources available within the community. The MIH program teams paramedics and social workers who visit local residents who frequently call 911 seeking healthcare services. Customers of MIH are often elderly or disabled persons who are home-bound or have no formal access to healthcare services.

The Las Cruces Fire Department’s MIH program receives about 50 referrals each month and Ford goes on roughly 60 home visits every month.

NASW was founded in 1957 and is the world's largest organization of professional social workers, with 55 chapters and more than 140,000 members nationally. The New Mexico Chapter includes about 1,000 members and is considered the professional voice for social workers in the state.

For more information on the Las Cruces Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Health program, click on the “Programs and Events” tab at

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