In many rural communities, access to specialty care represents the biggest health challenge. Since 2003, a groundbreaking initiative at the University of New Mexico has confronted that gap — with promising results in small towns across New Mexico and, now, around the world. It’s called Project Echo, and as KSFR reporter Ellen Berkovitch learned through interviews with its founder, Doctor Sanjeev Arora, the innovative health-care mentoring model is already a game changer for medicine.
Project ECHO uses medical specialists and telecommunications technology to train and mentor health care providers in rural communities. These providers then apply the knowledge they gain to address complex disease processes from Hepatitis C and HIV to diabetes and addictions in their home communities. The model has seen rapid expansion locally, nationally and internationally. Now a Senate bill has been proposed to extend Project ECHO even more systematically throughout the US. Ellen Berkovitch has the story.