Personal Statement

As Founder and Director of Project ECHO, I developed the ECHO model as a platform for service delivery, education and evaluation. Using videoconferencing technology and case-based learning, primary care clinicians from rural and underserved areas are trained and mentored by ECHO’s medical specialists to deliver best-practice management of complex health conditions in their communities. A key component of the ECHO model is its innovative Knowledge Networks, in which the expertise of a single specialist is shared with numerous primary clinicians through teleECHO clinics, increasing access to care in rural areas without having to recruit, retain and fund additional providers.

In 2007, Project ECHO came in first among over 300 entries from 27 countries to win the Changemakers award competition, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson and Ashoka Foundations to identify programs that are changing the paradigm of how medicine is practiced. In 2009, Project ECHO received grant funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for demonstration and replication of the ECHO model as a robust paradigm to expand best practice care for vulnerable populations. In 2012, Project ECHO won the Health Care Innovation Challenge award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to leverage the ECHO model to create a coordinated care system for high utilizers.

In 2013 the RWJF awarded ECHO a second round of funding to create the ECHO Institute, which develops the infrastructure and tools to help disseminate the ECHO model. Also in 2013, ECHO received a grant from the GE Foundation to address addictions and behavioral health, and a second round of funding from GE in July 2015 to dramatically increase the number of U.S. federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) participating in Project ECHO nationwide. In 2016, both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed the bipartisan ECHO Act, mandating a national HHS study to explore the potential of the ECHO model and its impact on addressing complex disease conditions, healthcare workforce issues, public health program implementation, and health care services delivery in underserved areas.

The Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. In 2019, the ECHO Institute was selected to partner with Co-Impact to launch its strategic plan for transforming global systems for sharing knowledge by developing strong proof points of focused work that will demonstrate the sustainable, scalable impact of the ECHO model at a global level. To date I have authored several publications on the outcomes of Project ECHO, including an in-depth evaluation of ECHO’s hepatitis C virus (HCV) program in the New England Journal of Medicine.