Cibola County was created in 1981 out of what was then Western Valencia County. Cibola County Land area is approximately 4,542 square miles. The total population in 2010 was 27,334, with 54.8% white, 41% Native American, 37.6% Hispanic, and 21.5% white non-Hispanic.
Grants, the county seat and largest town in Cibola County, began as a railroad camp in the 1880s, enveloping the existing colonial New Mexican settlement of Los Alamitos and growing along the tracks of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The town prospered as a result of railroad logging in the nearby Zuni Mountains. After the decline of logging in the 1930s, Grants gained fame as the "carrot capital" of the United States. Agriculture was aided by the creation of Bluewater Reservoir. The discovery of uranium sparked a mining boom that lasted until the 1980s. The collapse of mining pulled the town into a depression, but the town has enjoyed a resurgence based on interest in tourism and the scenic beauty of the region. Recent interest in nuclear power has revived the possibility of more uranium mining in the area, and energy companies still own viable mining properties and claims in the area.The Cibola County Health Council focuses heavily on the county’s Social Host Ordinance and development of a trail system. Members of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) have been scouting the area to provide technical advice to the community, and making recommendations on how it can attract tourism and economic growth. The IMBA is also working to create close-to-home opportunities for easy access to trails for community members. The Cibola County Health Council was able to get $4500 from the local Economic Foundation to fund the IMBA visit.
The McKinley Community Health Alliance, based in Gallup, is a working partnership of more than 100 citizen activists, educators, human service providers, and health-care workers throughout McKinley County and the neighboring region. Members represent the wide diversity of the area including the Navajo Nation and the Zuni Pueblo. The Alliance was established in 1998, and has become a state leader in addressing the social and economic determinants of health disparities, in an area that faces major challenges that include extreme poverty and some of the highest rates of diabetes in New Mexico. The Alliance has a long list of accomplishments; here are just a few:
The McKinley Community Health Alliance was formed in 1998 to address the issue of Medicaid Managed Care and how that was affecting Medicaid recipients in McKinley County. The Alliance’s health focus broadens from that point. The Health Alliance is a non-hierarchical participatory advocacy organization with open membership. Its membership is composed of individual citizens, groups, service providers and other agencies that are committed to the mission and vision of the Alliance.
The Health Alliance and the Maternal Child Health Council merged in July 2004 to apply for funding under the Community Health Improvement Grant. Currently, the Health Alliance is a working partnership of more than 100 citizen activists, educators, human service providers, and health-care workers throughout McKinley County and the neighboring region. Members represent the wide diversity of the area including the Navajo Nation and the Zuni Pueblo. The Council defines “health” very broadly and believes that health concerns of the area, as related to education, economics, environment and access to appropriate human services, are best addressed collaboratively.
The Board of Commissioners contracts with Presbyterian Medical Services as the administrator for the Health Alliance’s work of coordination, assessment and planning. The Board of Commissioners has continued to work in collaboration with Presbyterian Medical Services, McKinley Community Health Alliance and other organizations to utilize local community input and expertise to respond directly to community health challenges.
Current priorities include: