Having the Difficult Conversation: UNM’s Project ECHO Launches Violence Prevention Program

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences’ Project ECHO will begin offering virtual mentorship designed to increase knowledge and self-efficacy regarding the multi-factorial causes of violence including domestic violence, interpersonal violence, suicide, social determinants of health, environmental justice, and gun safety.  

The Violence Prevention ECHO is an 8-week, one-hour per week virtual program for all health professionals, first responders, public health professionals, legal personnel, and educators.  

The need for this program is essential considering nationally, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by a domestic partner. In New Mexico, shooting-related emergency room visits are rising fast, with a 39 percent increase between 2019 and 2022, the state’s Department of Health recently reported 

“Nearly all health care providers will care for someone who owns a gun, or someone who is experiencing domestic violence or suicidality. This presents a critical opportunity to improve outcomes,” said Joanna Katzman, MD, MSPH, medical director of the new Violence Prevention ECHO. 

One of the goals of the program would be to normalize the conversation about domestic violence, gun safety and other threats to health in the home. 

“We need to get more clinicians talking to their patients, and teachers talking to parents, about guns, and how to keep themselves and their children safe. It needs to be a normal part of the conversation,” Katzman said.  

In addition to domestic violence and gun safety, the program will cover other health-related issues in the home including substance use and loneliness.  

The ECHO program starting Oct. 24 program is free, open to the public, and provides Continuing Medical Education Credits and Continuing Education Credits.  

To register, visit, Project ECHO’s telementoring platform.  

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