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January 21, 2012

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres' Redesigned New Mexico Department of Health Logo Dissected

New DOH Logo

When Cabinet Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres first arrived on the job at DOH her first urgent order of business was to redesign the department's easily recognizable logo.  The former logo was used on everything from letterhead to interstate billboards.  The logo was simple and easily read at any distance.  Re-branding DOH is expensive and unnecessary task to undertake.  Re-branding thus far has been a massive failure.  No one can recognize the new logo.  The new logo features a caduceus  placed on a heart inside a Zia symbol which is inside the outline of a turquoise state of New Mexico.  Let's break down the new logo to understand its ridiculousness. 

Old DOH Logo

The Caduceus
The first symbol used is the caduceus. The caduceus is a Greek symbol also used by the Romans. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings.  As a symbolic object it represents Hermes (or the Roman Mercury), and by extension trades, occupations or undertakings associated with the god. In later Antiquity the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury. Thus, through its use in astrology and alchemy, it has come to denote the elemental metal of the same name. 

The Rod of Asclepius

The symbol that is supposed to be used for is the rod of Asclepius.  It consists of a single serpent entwined around a staff, no wings.  The name of the symbol derives from its early and widespread association with Asclepius, the son of Apollo, who was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. His attributes, the snake and the staff, sometimes depicted separately in antiquity, are combined in this symbol.  Hippocrates himself was a worshipper of Asclepius.  The rod of Asclepius is used for the practice of medicine.

Star of Life with The Rod of Asclepius
Health and medicine are not the same thing. Health is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain. Medicine is the science and art of healing.  The New Mexico Department of Health is in the Health business not the medicine business so use of a medicine symbol is in appropriate.  Medicine is a microcosm of good health.  Maintaining good health includes lifestyle practices such as healthy eating, exercise, safe sex, avoiding use of narcotics, not eating contaminated improperly prepared food and so on. 
American Medical Association

The heart symbol really has nothing to do with health other than the actual organ. The heart has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past, also intellectual core of a human being.

The red Zia symbol is great until it is placed on top of a turquoise filled outline of the state of New Mexico.  The Zia symbol  should be placed on a yellow background as it is on the New Mexico state flag.

State of New Mexico Flag
The New Mexico state outline is simple enough but again the turquoise coloring makes it unrecognizable.

It appears that Cabinet Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres has wasted taxpayer money to change the department's logo into a symbol that no one can identify.  The symbol used to associate DOH with medicine, the caduceus,  does not represent medicine but instead the trades and is also an astrological sign for Mercury.  This only serves to embarrass  DOH and the state of New Mexico because we can't design a logo to represent our state or the Department of Health.  How do you use the wrong symbol?!?!?   Why did we redesign a perfectly good logo?  Reason: Dr. Torres only knows how to micromanage and does not see the whole picture.  No wonder NM DOH is failing the people of NM.  Dr. Torres is not a leader.


  1. Took 7 months to design

  2. Stop the Bleeding1/22/12, 9:40 AM

    Below is my post in the Santa Fe Reporter about the DOH Logo and Torres lack of priorities when it comes to those we serve.

    12.11.2011 at 11:04

    Mrs. Torres has ripped the heart out of DOH and plopped it in the middle of her new logo. The public health clinics used to provide after hours services to enable people to work and kids to go to school in the day. It was an immense benefit for our struggling clients. The net result is that people don’t get the care they need. No thought or conscience has gone into DOH decision making in the past 10 months.

    In summary, as my colleagues have so eloquently stated: DOH is not fulfilling its mission by not providing the vital safety net services to NM’s most vulnerable and voiceless citizens, DOH has lost many of its qualified and dedicated staff and DOH’s reputation is so far in the toilet that it can no longer effectively recruit qualified replacements. This is a HORRIFYING situation and no one in the Governor’s office appears to care. Or does the Governor even know the state of the DOH?

    Senator Ortiz y Pino, can you help us get this message to Governor Martinez?

  3. I liked the old logo. It embraces diversity. The new one is ugly and reminds me of sickness. Sick logo, sick department. Barf

  4. New post coming tonight once I get home.

  5. Almost every administration re-designs the logo. Aside from the break in continuity of branding is the enormous cost of changing the logo on every business card, letterhead, form, webpage, brochure, etc. in the department. This represents one source of waste that comes with having political leadership rather than a Board of Health and Commissioner of Health hired based on a track record of public health experience and serving more than one administration.

  6. You would think a doctor would know the unversal symbol for medicine!?!? The good news is she did manage to get the right state.

  7. With bigger things to be concerned about like DD waivers, The "Circle of Trust" still calling the shots, let's focus on the logo. Torres is an egotistical fool and is like a dog peeing on it's territory. Another thing, I see the Environment Secretary driving by himself, how come she doesn't. If it's not her Frankenstein looking henchman Jim Green driving her, it's always someone other than her. Who does she think she is, "Driving Miss Daisy", lol. PATHETIC.

  8. That would be "Driving Miss Delirious"

  9. NMDOH Retiree3/25/12, 6:48 AM

    The only thing good about that logo is the 6 months that Dr. Torres spent working on it while locked away on the 4th floor of the Runnels building. Once she was done her wrath was turned on the rank and file staff.

  10. I feel bad for the poor DOH employee(s) who had to work on this monstrosity with Crazy Catherine. I can only imagine what that experience would have been like, and honestly, the thought will probably give me nightmares.


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