Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO): a new model for community health worker training and support

J Public Health Policy. 2018 May;39(2):203-216. doi: 10.1057/s41271-017-0114-8.


More than 50,000 community health workers (CHWs) are employed in the United States (US), a country with no national accreditation or certification program. In the US, CHWs are trained, formally and/or on-the-job, and rarely is long-term mentoring included. We developed a CHW training program using the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model™, distance education using video teleconferencing to support case-based learning, and mentoring of healthcare providers from medically underserved communities. We describe the ECHO model for CHW training and mentoring using case examples and pre/post-surveys from our obesity prevention and addiction recovery programs. Using the ECHO model to train and support CHWs offers advantages over traditional training methods, and can be adapted in other countries to support CHWs to improve health in their communities.

Keywords: Addiction recovery; Community health worker; Distance education; ECHO model; Obesity prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services
  • Community Health Workers / education*
  • Community Health Workers / psychology
  • Education, Distance / methods
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Mentors*
  • Models, Educational*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Program Evaluation
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • United States
  • Videoconferencing