About Project Echo
Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a guided-practice education and telementoring model to educate, train, and support health professionals in medically underserved areas.
The project teaches health professionals how to seek best practice approaches and strategize for complex disease management or issues they encounter by accessing expert interprofessional support through technology, allowing them to care more effectively for patients in their own communities.
Through telementoring, ECHO employs a “hub-and-spoke” knowledge-sharing approach. The “hub” is a team of centralized specialists/subject matter experts, who provide knowledge and feedback on cases presented by the “spokes,” who are individual health professionals dispersed across a geographic area. The spokes are then able to apply that supported learning and extend expert-level care to those in remote locations who can’t easily access a specialty or referral center.
Project ECHO also facilitates a wide array of programs supporting mental health and substance use disorders, education, and public health.
UNE's Center for Excellence in Public Health (CEPH), in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), serves as a resource for health professions and agencies throughout Maine by providing technical support for application of the ECHO model.
ECHO at CEPH
Communities in Maine face a variety of complex public health challenges including substance use disorder, limited mental health services, aging issues, homelessness, variation in job and economic opportunities by region, inconsistent access to healthy food options, capacity throughout the state to respond to emerging trends in LGBTQ+ healthcare, marginalization of rural communities, and inconsistent access to quality healthcare. Maternal and postpartum care services are unequally distributed and Maine is seeing an increase in refugee and asylum-seeking families with complex health and social needs. We believe that the most effective way to address these is to approach them from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Our public health focused approach to leading and supporting ECHO programs is designed to facilitate skill development for health professionals working in underserved communities. Our goal is to build an environment where connections can be made and sustained between public health practitioners across sectors and to create true virtual learning communities either through formal ECHO models or — when appropriate — other interprofessional, interactive learning events.
CEPH has an extensive network of partners throughout Maine and northern New England and a long history of collaboration between health professions training, workforce development, public health, clinical work, community-based public health practice, and service learning.
An ECHO program connects a broad array of health professionals for a series of virtual sessions focused around a specific health condition or public health topic. Participants from disparate locations gather monthly, forming a community of practice as they work together in repeated sessions.
During teleECHO™ sessions, subject matter experts deliver didactic material, and one participant or team presents a case for discussion, allowing for the hub team to share their expertise across the virtual network of “spoke” participants via case-based learning.
An ECHO can be developed for virtually any health-related topic and tailored to local circumstances, with the goal of strengthening the capacity of health professionals and stakeholders to address complex health issues and support them to deliver up to date, high quality care to remote and underserved communities.
Any health professional who wants to engage in a topic, share their experience, and learn from their peers may participate in CEPH-ECHO programs. Participants may include but are not limited to the following:
- Behavioral health professionals
- Community health workers
- Health professions students
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Public health professionals
- Social workers
Through ECHO's online learning networks, health professionals gain the expertise and support they need to address community health needs and care for clients who have complex health conditions.
ECHO participants have experienced
- increased confidence in their ability to offer specialty care for common, complex conditions
- increased job satisfaction
- reduced sense of isolation
- improved ability to use best practices when caring for patients and clients.
Free continuing medical education credit is also possible.
Organizations that partner with CEPH on the design and implementation of an ECHO will develop connections to the CEPH network, as well as other potential opportunities for collaboration.
- Learners participate in ECHO programs at no cost
- Active participant engagement
- Regular session attendance
- Prepare & share a case presentation
- Openly exchange ideas, feedback & suggestions
- Partner/sponsor organizations: Low-cost collaboration
We welcome Kathryn to UNE and her bio is coming soon.
With a background in developing community-based service learning courses and civic engagement experiences for college students throughout Chicago's diverse neighborhoods, Micaela facilitates the logistics, coordination, and communication for participants and partners of HRSA-awarded PCTE grants.
She helps coordinate the day-to-day operations of CEPH-ECHO programs, including coordination of ECHO sessions and deliverables and tech support for ECHO participants.
After failing organic chemistry as an undergraduate, Jen has had a long career in public health including serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, working with the State of Maine health department as an infectious disease epidemiologist, and providing technical assistance to Caribbean countries on HIV surveillance.
In addition to serving as Maine’s Area Health Education Centers director, Jen also serves as an advisor to the CEPH-ECHO team.
With deep experience in instructional technology, service learning, and the instructional design of online learning, Marc leads CETL, UNE’s designated Project ECHO hub. He provides guidance to ECHO faculty on the development of effective curricula and virtual instructional techniques.
To get more information about Project ECHO programs as a participant or a partner, email CEPH at firstname.lastname@example.org.