New Mexico Peer Education Project

The New Mexico Peer Education Project (NMPEP) is a collaboration between Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) and the New Mexico Corrections Department.

It leverages the ECHO model to make a powerful and lasting intervention in prisoners and prison community health. With a solution-based focus, NMPEP trains selected prisoners to become Peer Educators, with the goal of increasing their peers' knowledge of key health issues, increase general health literacy, reduce risky behaviors, and increase job readiness upon release.

Four Components of NMPEP

With over 10 years of operation, NMPEP has identified the most essential components to successfully launching, maintaining, and replicating a peer-led prison-based program.

  • 40 Hour Training: Offers an intensive training to inmates who meet certain criteria to become Peer Educators.
  • 10 Hour Peer-Led Workshop: Training presented by trained Project ECHO Peer Educators for other inmates at their location.
  • Monthly Follow-Up: NMPEPs team lead makes monthly site visits to each facility that has a cohort of Peer Educators.
  • Bi-Weekly TeleECHO™: Videoconferences held twice a month by Project ECHO staff and faculty, content experts, and Peer Educators.

Our WHY

The New Mexico Peer Education Project believes that redemption is the solution that time spent incarcerated should be an opportunity to regain a healthier and more productive life.

Our HOW

We work towards this by: developing individual self-efficacy, utilizing an innovative and cost effective peer-led model, and by strengthening individual community connections inside and out of prison.

Our WHAT

We build strong leaders who create change in their own lives and communities.

The Team

Karla Thornton, MD, MPH, Associate Director, Project ECHO

Dr. Thornton received her MD Degree from the University of Texas, Dallas in 1992 and an MPH from the University of Michigan. Dr. Thornton completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. She earned a fellowship in Infectious Diseases and is board certified in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine. Dr. Thornton is a Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Internal Medicine. Her interests are HIV, Hepatitis C, and education, which drove her to develop the New Mexico Peer Education Project in 2009.

Carissa B McGee, CCHW
Training Support Analyst | The New Mexico Peer Education Project
ECHO Institute
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Phone: 505-267-0729
Fax: 505-272-6938
CbMcGee@salud.unm.edu

Saul Hernandez, MA
Sr. Program Manager| The New Mexico Peer Education Project
ECHO Institute
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Phone: 505-272-0102
Fax: 505-272-6938
sahernandez@salud.unm.edu

Daniel Rowan, CPSW
Program Specialist| The New Mexico Peer Education Project
ECHO Institute
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Phone: 505-510-3631
Fax: 505-272-6938
DhRowan@salud.unm.edu

Barry Ore, MA
Community Faculty| The New Mexico Peer Education Project
ECHO Institute
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Phone: 505-206-7782
Fax: 505-272-6938
barrycore88@gmail.com

Join Us

NMPEP Collaborative

This community is open to individuals, organizations, and/or grassroots programs that are interested in or already have a form of involvement in helping those directly impacted by the criminal justice system.

Although the model is geared towards physical health, its curriculum is not static and can be modified to meet the needs and demands of numerous topics. For example, when Indiana replicated the project, the population they trained had a high need of psychological learning and understanding, so the Indiana team added a segment in the curriculum on Mental Health.

Check our resources in Box (only accessible by signed ECHO partners). We invite you to join a teleECHO session.

Contact Us

Contact NMPEPecho@salud.unm.edu to reach our Leadership Team.