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Prevention Research Center, Division of Prevention & Population Sciences, UNM Department of Pediatrics

MSC11 6145
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
2703 Frontier Ave NE
Research Incubator Building (RIB) Suite 120

Phone: (505) 272-4462
Fax: (505) 272-3955

Apps & Games

At the PRC, we strive to provide modern and engaging ways to promote healthy lifestyles. As part of this on-going effort, this page contains a trail app and a game about tobacco cessation.

Download the App

Step Into Cuba is a program to promote healthy lifestyles by increasing walking and hiking in Cuba, NM, and on nearby public lands. Walking and hiking have been shown to increase the length and quality of our lives. Step Into Cuba is operated by the Nacimiento Community Foundation and supported by an alliance of partners and volunteers.


Step Into Cuba advocates for walkable streets, highways, and trails; develops and maintain trails; promotes use of trails on public lands; organizes and supports walking groups; sponsors walking campaigns and events; and sponsors and supports enhancement of our places to walk. For more information about Step Into Cuba, visit http://www.stepintocuba.org


This app provides all the information you need to enjoy walking and hiking near Cuba, NM. It includes maps and descriptions of 10 walking places that vary in distance and type of landscape. For each location, you will find information on parking, distance, difficulty, suitability for dogs, and what you can expect to see. Enjoy your walks!

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In 2007 a process evaluation was undertaken to better understand barriers faced by people attempting to quit smoking through a cessation program offered at a public hospital in the Southwest. The evaluation included observations, interviews of providers and patients, as well as archival research. The evaluation resulted in a diagram of services and barriers. To better present the complicated nature of the barriers and services, and to dramatize the experience of the patient, the diagram was transformed into an interactive board game, and then as an interactive, electronic training tool. The target audience for the training is front line cessation providers and everyone involved in the healthcare provision system that interacts with smokers. This game/tool helps healthcare providers of every strata identify more complex systems of barriers to service in their own institutions, and empathize with the situation of low income tobacco users who want to quit.

The game begins with our hero, the tobacco using mythical creature, Jack A. Lope, entering the stages (or stage coaches) of change per diClemente and Prochaska’s “Stages of Change theory”. Alternative game pieces allow the player to play Jack’s wife, Jill, or a number of other characters. The player’s first spin will help determine the readiness of Jack to quit smoking. Clearly the first step in order to determine their readiness is that Jack and Jill need to make and keep their appointment with their provider. In real life most of the patients seen through this Southwest hospital treatment program begin their journey to be free of commercial tobacco at their doctor’s office. If they are lucky (thus we have thematically named this portion of the game “Provider Poker”), their doctor is trained in the use of motivational interviewing and remembers to ask the patient if they smoke (the treatment program has spent considerable time training providers within our network to provide this level of care).  From there Jack moves to (in real life receives a referral to) the Cessation Posse.

When all goes well, Jack and Jill make it through the Cessation Posse, get the necessary behavioral training, knowledge about medications and a prescription for their choice of medication to help support their quit. The Cessation Posse is our name for our treatment program. The program, based on Clinical Standard of Care, provides a one-on-one training for those patients who are ready to quit. For those patients who have the hospital insurance plan for low income or the state coverage insurance for low income (SCI), a one month supply of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and Zyban is available at no cost. Three follow-up phone calls check medications, offer support and relapse prevention. 

However, our evaluation made clear that once the treatment program has done its best to counsel Jack or Jill, their journey is far from over. They depends upon luck as they face numerous challenges negotiating their way through the “pharmacy cattle corral”, the “insurance hole in the wall” saloon and eventually faces the ultimate challenge of quitting a substance that the average person requires at least 7 tries to successfully quit. Patients at the outlying clinics must take a few extra spins in their game, potentially adding to their discouragement. Indigent care patients have their medications covered by the hospital or by the state administered tobacco settlement funds. But they must get a signed waiver from their trainer and they must pick their medications up at the hospital pharmacy. This proves to be a disheartening experience.  Private insurance has the fewest moves and gets to the Win spin quickly.  Are we surprised?

The game was at first a playful way to disseminate evaluation findings. After showing it to a number of people it became clear that the project had some utility as a training tool, potentially capable of increasing provider competence and effecting systems change. It is not meant to be easy or even winnable the way that games often are. It is meant to reflect the lived experience of smokers trying to quit. In real life sometimes they do not, perhaps because barriers similar to those represented in the game cause them to get caught in a perpetual loop that never leads to quitting.