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Project ECHO Launches National Institute To Spread Transformative Care Model; Embarks On Initiative With GE Foundation To Expand Mental Health Care Access

“Through our work to expand access to primary care, we fully understand the growing need to provide mental health treatment in community health centers,” Corcoran said. “This approach with Project ECHO will bring mental health care to patients in their home communities with local clinicians. We think this will not only improve access to mental health care, but ultimately improve overall well-being and quality of life for these patients and their families.”

Arora noted that the GE Foundation’s initiative underscores the flexibility of the ECHO model. “The new mental health clinic funded by the GE Foundation demonstrates the ECHO model’s potential for breaking down health care silos in different ways and support more integrated, better- coordinated patient care,” Arora said. “By bringing mental health services into the primary care setting, we will ensure comprehensive and more effective treatment for patients with complex conditions.”

Since its launch in 2003, the ECHO model has continued to draw interest, first with partner sites, then with a nationwide pilot by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and more recently, with a global chronic pain management program with the Department of Defense. Numerous other federal agencies, academic medical centers, and even other countries are in various stages of exploring or implementing Project ECHO.

The ECHO Institute was created to meet the growing demand to replicate the ECHO model, to ensure the integrity of the model, and to connect ECHO programs nationally and globally to mine data for disease patterns and establish best practices. The ECHO Institute will develop the infrastructure and tools to help disseminate the ECHO model.

“Project ECHO is about creating a more perfect health care system – one in which patients get the care they need, when and where they need it, and the care is good quality, based on best practices,” said Richard Larson, M.D., Vice Executive Chancellor for the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. “The University of New Mexico is proud to be a part of Project ECHO’s success.”

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