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Penn State Project ECHO Topics

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

  • ASERT Adult Autism (ASD)
  • BSA Summer Camp Revamped
  • COVID-19
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes
  • HPV Vaccine Communication
  • Medication for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Palliative Care
  • Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia
  • Polyneuropathy and Musculoskeletal Pain
  • SBIRT for Adolescents

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ASERT Adult Autism (ASD)

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The ASERT Adult Autism (ASD) 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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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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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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COVID-19

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Project ECHO at Penn State has launched two COVID-19 ECHO series to inform health care providers, administrators, the community and others of the latest best practices in emergency preparedness and patient treatment for COVID-19.

One series is designed to equip health care providers, administrators and the community with strategies to address challenges presented as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Together, experts and providers will collaborate to discuss patient and clinic/hospital system cases and develop recommendations for care and/or improvement.

The other series, designed in company with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, covers care considerations for skilled nursing facilities during the pandemic. The goal is to information nursing home personnel and administration of best practices in emergency preparedness and patient care.

The program welcomes case discussions from registered participants that involve common clinical scenarios related to care as well as difficult, complex or challenging presentations of scenarios.

Register for the provider, administrator and community series online here

Register for the skilled nursing facility series here

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Dates and times for future COVID-19 ECHO sessions will be sent to registered participants as they are scheduled and confirmed and listed here as available.

Register for the provider, administrator and community series online here

Register for the skilled nursing facility series here

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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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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Curriculum Expand answer

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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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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Palliative Care

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The Palliative Care ECHO is designed for primary care clinicians and hospitalists with limited access to palliative care specialists to address care strategies for improving the quality of life for patients living with serious illness. This eight-session series seeks to equip health care providers with the knowledge to determine patient needs and goals, including end-of-life care.

Sessions will be delivered by an experienced palliative care interdisciplinary team and palliative care researcher. Sessions include brief lectures on palliative care topics chosen by participants, as well as de-identified case presentations given by participants for group discussion to gain confidence and competence in providing specialized care to patients with a serious illness.

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

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Curriculum Expand answer

The Palliative Care ECHO sessions occur biweekly, with eight sessions in total; free continuing education credits will be provided to attendees.

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 palliative care. Topics include:

  • Palliative care and hospice
  • Assessment of frailty in older patients
  • Opioid use and conversions
  • Prognostication
  • Recognizing and caring for the imminently dying patient
  • Goals of care and advance directives

Additionally, 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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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:

  • Sudden progressive weakness after a cold
  • Numb and unsteady legs
  • Numbness, tingling and syncope
  • “My back hurts!”
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: Do I need to see a neurologist?
  • Unilateral hand or foot numbness or weakness
  • Migraine headaches

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.

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 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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Curriculum Expand answer

The SBIRT for Adolescents 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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Upcoming Project ECHO Events and Training