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Penn State Project ECHO Topics

Penn State Project ECHO currently supports knowledge networks in the following topics:

  • BSA Summer Camp Revamped
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes
  • Medication for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia
  • Polyneuropathy and Musculoskeletal Pain
  • SBIRT for Adolescents

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BSA Summer Camp Revamped

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Stemming from engagement on the Boy Scouts of America’s National Presidential Task Force to Address Childhood Obesity, Penn State PRO Wellness has partnered with summer camps across the United States to implement Summer Camp Revamped – working with 67,000 Scouts at 26 camps in 2018 alone.

Summer Camp Revamped promotes healthful practices and proven changes to the camp environment such as messaging, new dining hall menus and rearrangement of food displays in the Trading Post, which encourage Scouts and adults to make choices for improved health. To date, troop leaders and Scouts have expressed overwhelming support for the Summer Camp Revamped program with favorable results realized in improved nutrition content of dining hall meals, satisfaction with food choices and increased activity.

The newly launched Summer Camp Revamped Virtual Network provides a learning community where a team of experts and participating camp leaders share tips, tricks and lessons learned while implementing Summer Camp Revamped initiatives.

An expert specialist team will be available to provide mentoring and feedback at Project ECHO, and will comprise camp leadership who have implemented changes in their camps already, as well as Penn State staff, registered dietitians and chefs. Together, the specialists, along with camp leaders new to the program, will collaborate to discuss a variety of situations and develop recommendations toward an improved culture of health at camp.

Over time, camp leaders become experts themselves – engaged in a wider community of learners. As a result, summer camps get the high-quality assistance they need while paving new ground for others to follow while serving scouts.

Participation is free and is open to BSA camp staff across the United States.

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Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes

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Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a set of clinically and genetically heterogeneous heritable disorders of connective tissue with high disease burden and complex, overlapping comorbidities that are challenging for practitioners to manage.

Primary-care physicians with expertise in treating Ehlers-Danlos are difficult to find, and specialists have long wait lists.

To address this problem, Project ECHO launched the first ECHO sessions in Ehlers-Danlos syndromes in September 2019. This is a series of 12 ECHO sessions over the course of the year. CME credits will be offered to participants.

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Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

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The Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) ECHO, in partnership with the RASE Project, has been made possible through a grant awarded to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Health care providers face many barriers when treating opioid use disorder and implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Many providers do not feel confident or skilled in utilizing MAT to treat patients with opioid use disorder. This series may provide the needed knowledge and confidence to improve patient care.

Participation is free and is open to all health care providers in Pennsylvania.

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Curriculum Expand answer

These ECHO sessions occur every other week, with 12 sessions in total. Each session begins with participant introductions, followed by a brief presentation on a topic related to the care of patients with opioid use disorder.

The formal presentation curriculum for the sessions in this program was developed by Penn State Project ECHO’s specialist team to provide a thorough introduction to treatment and care. Topics include:

  • Introduction to opioid use disorder
  • Risk reduction and safe use of opioids
  • Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder
  • Peer recovery support services
  • Evidence-based screening and SBIRT (screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment)
  • Introduction to motivational interviewing
  • ACEs and addiction
  • Office management of opioid use disorder (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • Co-occurring physical and mental health
  • Management of pain in patients with opioid use disorder
  • Pregnancy and care of adolescents

Additionally, community providers present de-identified patient cases for discussion by the entire group in order to protect patient confidentiality. All participants are encouraged to contribute actively to the case discussions. Recommendations are summarized verbally at the conclusion of each case presentation, and forwarded in writing to the health care provider whose case was discussed.

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Parkinson's Disease and Dementia

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The Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia ECHO addresses diagnostic and care strategies for these conditions. These sessions also provide brief lectures covering topics of interest to the ECHO group, such as pseudodementias, Parkinsonism and factors in care.

In addition, the main thrust of the sessions will come from participants who will present de-identified cases to each other and the specialist team in order to gain confidence and competence in treating Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

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Curriculum Expand answer

The Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia ECHO consists of seven one-hour sessions that take place every other week. The sessions are CME-eligible.

Each session begins with participant introductions, followed by a brief presentation on a topic related to the care of patients with dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

The formal presentation curriculum for the sessions in this program was developed by Penn State Project ECHO’s specialist team to provide a thorough introduction to treatment and care. Topics include:

  • Pseudodementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment Alzheimer’s
  • Factors in care
  • Non-Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Initial Parkinson’s disease evaluation
  • Parkinsonism
  • Surgical options

Additionally, community providers present de-identified patient cases for discussion by the entire group. In order to protect patient confidentiality, all participants are encouraged to contribute actively to the case discussions. Recommendations are summarized verbally at the conclusion of each case presentation, and forwarded in writing to the health care provider whose case was discussed.

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Polyneuropathy and Musculoskeletal Pain

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The Polyneuropathy and Musculoskeletal Pain ECHO addresses diagnostics and management strategies for common and rare neurological conditions. These sessions also provide brief lectures covering topics of interest to the ECHO group, such as peripheral nervous system conditions, neurological vs. non-neurological musculoskeletal pain, management of back pain/lumbosacral radiculopathy and headaches/migraines.

In addition, the main thrust of the sessions will come from participants who will present de-identified cases to each other and the specialist team in order to gain confidence and competence in treating neurological conditions.

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Curriculum Expand answer

The Polyneuropathy and Musculoskeletal Pain ECHO consists of eight one-hour sessions that take place every other week. The sessions are CME-eligible.

Each session begins with participant introductions, followed by a brief presentation on a topic related to the care of patients with common or complex neurological conditions.

The formal presentation curriculum for the sessions in this program was developed by Penn State Project ECHO’s specialist team to provide a thorough introduction to treatment and care. Topics include:

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Axonal polyneuropathy
  • Small fiber neurology
  • Lumbosacral radiculopathy/back pain
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (preventive)
  • Focal neuropathies
  • Headaches (migraines)
  • Headaches (other)

Additionally, community providers present de-identified patient cases for discussion by the entire group. In order to protect patient confidentiality, all participants are encouraged to contribute actively to the case discussions. Recommendations are summarized verbally at the conclusion of each case presentation, and forwarded in writing to the health care provider whose case was discussed.

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SBIRT for Adolescents

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Fewer than 10 percent of adolescents in need of substance abuse treatment receive it. Additionally, a barrier to addressing underage drinking is the lack of appropriate screening, intervention and referral for alcohol use among youth.

Penn State Project ECHO is taking steps to equip school nurses and pediatricians with strategies to address underage drinking through the training and delivery of steps collectively referred to as the screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) technique.

The SBIRT for Adolescents ECHO has been made possible through a grant awarded to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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The SBIRT for Adolescents ECHO consists of 10 once-a-week, hour-long sessions. A series starting in February 2020 is free and open to all school nurses in Pennsylvania; an SBIRT ECHO for pediatricians is planned for summer 2020.

A brief presentation on a topic related to underage drinking and adolescent substance use will be given within the last 15 minutes of each session.

The formal presentation curriculum for the sessions in this program was developed by Penn State Project ECHO’s specialist team. Topics include:

  • Introduction to SBIRT and brief interventions
  • Adolescent risk factors vs. protective factors
  • Identifying substance use in adolescence
  • Beyond alcohol: Substance use prevention and intervention
  • Adolescent progress of substance use
  • How alcohol affects human biology
  • Referral to treatment
  • Positive development: Building good habits
  • Addressing vulnerability during life transitions
  • Review of brief interventions

Additionally, school nurses and pediatricians will present de-identified student or schoolwide cases for discussion by the entire group in order to protect patient confidentiality. All participants are encouraged to contribute actively to the case discussions. Recommendations are summarized verbally at the conclusion of each case presentation, and forwarded in writing to the participant whose case was discussed.

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Upcoming Project ECHO Events and Training