Dr. Elba Saavedra

Posted in Advocacy Events

Assistant Professor for Research at UNM College of Education & Senior Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy, Patient Navigation Expert

Dr. Elba Saavedra’s official title is Assistant Professor for Research at the UNM College of Education and Senior Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy. But perhaps a more fitting title would be: the Ultimate Comadre. Comadre is a term used to describe a close female friendship often found in extended families in the Hispanic and Latino communities; a comadre is a godmother, female friend, neighbor . . . or simply someone who supports you.

Elba is the founder and director of Comadre a Comadre, a community based program that offers advocacy, education, information, resources, and support to improve breast cancer outcomes among Hispanic and Latina women diagnosed with the disease. The program uses culturally sensitive, one-to-one support delivered by a team of trained comadres who guide patients through their medical journey and offer them emotional support. The comadres are breast cancer survivors themselves and represent the culture of the women they’re helping. For the women who access the program the comadres are a true lifeline.

The Comadre a Comadre Program exemplifies the focus of Elba’s career -- addressing cancer disparities and improving cancer care for the Hispanic and Latina community. For years Elba has provided outreach, conducted research and offered counseling within the Latino community.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Elba came to UNM in the early 1980s and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She earned her doctorate in community education from UNM in 2004. Since then she’s received numerous grants to extend her good work and accepted many awards acknowledging her contributions to the community including the 2005 Governor’s Award to Outstanding New Mexico Women and the 2007 Women Making A Difference Award.

Events and Learning Experiences

  • Success at the Seminar!

    Affordable Care Act Key Topic of Third Annual Advocacy for Cancer Patients Program A grieving mother’s dream for a healthier Read More
  • Community Outreach

    Volunteers of The Shannon J. Shaw Memorial Fund participate in various events throughout the year in order to raise awareness Read More
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Additional Seminar Information

  • Presentation by Nathan Kottkamp, Esq.
  • Presentation by Honorable Gary King
  • Plenary Session
  • 3rd Annual Advocacy for Cancer Patients Gallery

Nathan Kottkamp's Presents about Advance Directives

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The Honorable Gary King, New Mexico's General Attorney speaks about the Enforcement of Rights to Medical Care & Insurance.

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8:00 a.m.
Overview of Program
Jeff Diamond, Esq., Jeff Diamond Law Firm & Program Sponsor

8:05 a.m.
Welcome & Greeting
Dr. Wadih Arap, MD, PhD, Deputy Director, UNM Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine

8:30 a.m.
Advanced Healthcare Directives, Legal Drafting, and Client Counseling
Nathan Kottkamp, Esq., Founder of the national health decision day, expert on health law and advanced care planning, partner, Health Law at McGuireWoods, Virginia


9:30 a.m.
Patient Navigation and Survivorship Planning: The Importance of Meeting the Standards of the American College of Surgeons and The Counsel on Cancer
Dr. Elba Saavedra, Assistant Professor for Research at UNM College of Education & Senior Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy, Patient Navigation Expert

10:45 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m.
The Rights of Individuals to Health Care Under ACA & State & Federal Law
Pamelya Herndon, Esq., Executive Director Southwest Women's Law Center

12:00 p.m.
The Methodology and Techniques for Treating Cancer Patients at Home
Dr. Barbara L. McAneny, MD, CEO of New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants, Inc. & Chair-Elect of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association and New Mexico Cancer Center

1:00 p.m.
Enforcement of Rights to Medical Care & Insurance by the Attorney General
Honorable Gary King, Esq., New Mexico Attorney General

2:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: The New Age of Insurance and Getting Payments for Health Care – A View From the Trenches
Moderator: Jeff Diamond, Esq.
Dr. Nandini Kuehn, PhD, Director, Health Services Consulting and Board of Directors, New Mexico Health Connections (non-profit)
Jason Sandel, Vice-Chairman of the New Mexico Insurance Exchange
Phil Mims, MA Finance, Cress Insurance Consultants, Inc.

3:00 p.m. Break

3:15 p.m.
Meeting the Shortage of Health Care Personnel as Presented to the LFC Report On May 15th with Recommended Legislative Changes in Licensing, Regulation, Scope of Practice & Equal Access to Medical Personnel
Jane Batson, BS, MA, Interim Vice President for External Affairs, ENMU-Roswell, Health Policy Expert


4:00 p.m.
Protecting Employee Rights During the Fight for Survival from Cancer
Rita Siegel, Esq., Siegel Law Firm, Albuquerque Labor and Employment Attorney

NM Action Center

  • New Mexico Action Center

    Improving Cancer Patients Lives with Palliative Care A large crowd turned up for the second annual New Mexico Cancer Summit: Read More
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