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Penn State Project ECHO Current Topics

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

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Addressing Underage Alcohol and Substance Use

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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 primary care providers, pediatricians and school nurses 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 Addressing Underage Alcohol and Substance Use 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 Addressing Underage Alcohol and Substance Use ECHO consists of 10 biweekly, hour-long sessions.

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

Additionally, pediatricians will present de-identified 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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Child Mental Health

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Mental health is important to overall health. Without early diagnosis and proper treatment, children with mental health disorders can have problems at home, in school and in forming friendships. That is why Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at Penn State College of Medicine is launching a learning network focused on helping healthcare providers meet the complex social, emotional and physical health care needs of their patients within a supportive and safe environment.

This network aims to connect a multi-disciplinary team of specialists with community providers across the Commonwealth. Together, they will discuss de-identified patient cases and develop recommendations and considerations for care.

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The Child Mental Health ECHO consists of five biweekly, hour-long sessions.

A brief presentation on a topic related to Child Mental Health 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:

  • Anxiety disorder in youth
  • Child & adolescent depressive disorder
  • Treatment of ADHD in the primary care setting
  • Autism spectrum disorders: evaluation and treatment
  • Suicide assessment and management
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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. The program is a series of 12 ECHO sessions over the course of the year. CME credits are offered to participants.

This is a research-based ECHO with a goal of increasing treatment capacity by addressing research gaps.

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Got Your 6 at Home

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Our nation’s past, present and future have been made thanks to veterans. Their service has made it possible for every American to enjoy the rights and freedoms that are the envy of the world. But, for many veterans, it’s not easy to adjust to life on the homefront. And this can result in tragic outcomes.

Charter Homes & Neighborhoods and Penn State College of Medicine are partnering to ensure veterans receive proper mental health support and can adjust to post-service life. This partnership will address two root causes of veteran mental health issues, by training employers to better serve veteran employees and connecting veterans and their families to the vital resources they need.

This case-based series covers topics related to improving veterans’ cognitive, behavioral and emotional health. On the front lines, veterans had our nation’s six (our back). Now it’s time we honor their service and have their six to ensure they can come home and thrive in post-service life.

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For Families

For Employers

HPV Vaccine Communication

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The HPV Vaccine Communication ECHO is for pediatricians and family medicine providers who are interested in increasing HPV vaccination rates in their clinics. This six-session ECHO series provides health care providers training on communication best practices and evidence-based strategies for improving HPV vaccination among adolescents, especially those with vaccine-hesitant parents. Its goal is to reduce HPV-related cancers and diseases in Pennsylvania.

Sessions will be delivered by a group of HPV vaccine specialists, including experienced health care providers and health communication experts. Sessions include short didactic presentations and case presentations, so participants gain confidence and competence in recommending HPV vaccination and communicating to families the importance of HPV vaccination.

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The HPV Vaccine Communication ECHO consists of six one-hour sessions; free continuing education credits will be provided to attendees.

Each session will begin with participant introductions, followed by a brief presentation on a topic related to patient and family communication strategies for increasing HPV vaccination.

The formal presentation curriculum for the sessions in this program was developed by Penn State Project ECHO’s specialist team, using evidence-based resources, to provide a thorough introduction to HPV vaccine communication best practices.

Topics include:

  • Evidence for HPV vaccination
  • Cancer prevention through HPV vaccination
  • Making strong recommendations for HPV vaccination
  • Communicating with vaccine-hesitant parents
  • Answering parent questions and concerns about HPV vaccination (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • Practice-level interventions for HPV vaccination
  • Team-based communication approaches

Additionally, participants will present de-identified cases for discussion by the entire group. All participants are encouraged to contribute actively to case discussions. Recommendations are summarized verbally after each case presentation, and forwarded in writing to the health care provider whose case was discussed.

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LGBTQI+ Inclusive Health Care

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All patients have the right to high-quality, patient-centered health care that is equal and unbiased. Creating an inclusive environment in which health care conversations are more comfortable for all patients is important. This series is focused on helping health care providers meet the complex social, emotional and physical health care needs of their patients within a supportive and safe environment.

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Current topics include:

  • Sex, Sexuality, Gender
  • Sexual Health
  • Gender Affirming Medication
  • Suicide/Self Harm
  • Stress and Resilience
  • Health Disparities
  • Trauma
  • Intersex

Additionally, participants will present de-identified patient cases for discussion by the entire group. All participants are encouraged to contribute actively to case discussions. Recommendations are summarized verbally after each case presentation and forwarded to the health care provider whose case was discussed.

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Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

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Unfortunately, substance use and overdose deaths are expected to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This virtual series aims to provide the knowledge, support and resources necessary to increase the capacity and confidence of primary care providers to effectively practice using medication for opioid use disorder. Together, experts and providers will collaborate to discuss patient cases and develop recommendations for care.

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Curriculum Expand answer

The Medication for Opioid Use Disorder ECHO consists of 13 biweekly, hour-long sessions.

A brief presentation on a topic related to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder 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 opioid use disorder
  • Medication for opioid use disorder
  • Peer recovery support services
  • Co-occurring mental health
  • Introduction to motivational interviewing
  • Risk reductions and safe use of opioids
  • Adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorder/adverse childhood experiences and addiction
  • COVID and opioid use disorder
  • Perioperative management of the opioid dependent patient
  • Evidence-based screening and SBIRT (screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment)
  • Co-occurring physical health of opioid use disorder/Hepatitis C
  • Opioid use disorder in the emergency department
  • Pregnancy/post-partum care
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Monkeypox

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The monkeypox outbreak has been declared a public health emergency. Providing accurate information about the spread, symptoms and treatment of this disease is vital for community health. That is why Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at Penn State College of Medicine is launching a learning network focused on providing clinical guidance and considerations to healthcare providers so that they are best prepared to meet the needs of their patients.

This network aims to connect a multi-disciplinary team of specialists with community providers across the Commonwealth and beyond. Together, they will discuss de-identified patient cases located in the CDC repository to review recommendations and considerations for care.

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The Monkeypox ECHO consists of six biweekly, hour-long sessions.

A brief presentation on a topic related to Monkeypox 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:

  • Monkeypox Presentation 101
  • Risk factors and stigma
  • Testing, quarantine and infection control
  • Treatment and vaccination
  • Endemic risk
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PA Training Center for Health Equity CHO

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The vision of the PA Training Center for Health Equity is for Pennsylvania to have a public, private, and volunteer workforce that is prepared to equitably address public health threats among all populations. The Center’s mission is to develop, deliver, and evaluate culturally-sensitive training initiatives and resources that prepares the public health workforce to achieve equitable health outcomes for all.

The overall goal of this ECHO series is to create a learning community that provides community health organizers with the skills, tools, and environment to equitably address all threats to public health.

The PA Training Center for Health Equity CHO series launched on January 12, 2022, from 9 to 10 a.m. There will be a total of twelve, monthly 1-hour sessions.

As a result of this training, Community Health Organizers will be able to:

  • identify public health assets and resources in your community;
  • conduct a community health assessment;
  • develop skills for partnership and coalition building and development;
  • effectively communicate public health concepts and information;
  • understand public health concepts and approaches and apply them to your community; and
  • create a collaborative plan with evidence-based strategies that equitably addresses existing and potential threats to public health.

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Pennsylvania AHEC Community Health Workers

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Community health workers (CHW) are integral in linking communities to health care and public health resources. Research has shown CHWs can reduce health disparities, expand access to coverage and care, improve care quality, increase health care cultural competence, and contain costs.

This ECHO series seeks to train CHWs in an effort to strengthen Pennsylvania’s public health infrastructure and improve community health outcomes, particularly for subpopulations that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pennsylvania AHEC Community Health Worker series launched on October 20, 2021, from 9 to 10 a.m. There will be a total of twelve, monthly 1-hour sessions.

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Project Reassure: Adult Neurodiversity

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The Project Reassure: Adult Neurodiversity ECHO is designed for providers from agencies serving adults with autism.

This series addresses issues and behavioral strategies for these conditions and also includes brief lectures covering topics of interest to the ECHO group, such as clinical features of ASD, managing common co-occurring conditions and promoting self-advocacy.

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 providing direct supports to adults with ASD.

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Curriculum Expand answer

These ECHO sessions occur every other week, with 12 sessions in total. Each one-hour session begins with participant introductions, followed by a brief presentation on a topic related to the care of adults with autism spectrum 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:

  • Clinical features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adults (Part A)
  • Clinical features of ASD in adults (Part B)
  • Co-occurring physical conditions
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Behaviors
  • Managing behaviors
  • Promoting activities of daily living
  • Identifying individual and family supports
  • Promoting healthy relationships (Part A)
  • Promoting healthy relationships (Part B)
  • Barriers to community participation
  • Promoting self-advocacy

Additionally, agency participants 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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Southcentral Long-Term Care RISE

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This series seeks to empower nursing facility administration and staff to improve health outcomes for residents facing challenges related to age-friendly care. Care for older adults can become more complex and they risk suffering harm while in long-term care. Providing a reliable system to train staff in caring for older patients has important implications for individuals and is a critical need.

The Long-Term Care RISE ECHO provides an innovative and evidence-based approach to increasing high-quality care for residents by bringing together specialists and non-specialists to improve care for residents in the communities where they live.

This series is only open to nursing facilities located in the southcentral RISE program region of Pennsylvania, and will launch on March 3, 2022, with weekly sessions taking place on Tuesdays from 1-2 p.m.

Register here

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Upcoming Project ECHO Events and Training