Innovative COVID-19 Programs to Rapidly Serve New Mexico : Project ECHO

Public Health Rep. Jan/Feb 2021;136(1):39-46. doi: 10.1177/0033354920969180. Epub 2020 Nov 20.


Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at the University of New Mexico is a telementoring program that uses videoconferencing technology to connect health care providers in underserved communities with subject matter experts. In March 2020, Project ECHO created 10 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) telementoring programs to meet the public health needs of clinicians and teachers living in underserved rural and urban regions of New Mexico. The newly created COVID-19 programs include 7 weekly sessions (Community Health Worker [in English and Spanish], Critical Care, Education, First-Responder Resiliency, Infectious Disease Office Hours, and Multi-specialty) and 3 one-day special sessions. We calculated the total number of attendees, along with the range and standard deviation, per session by program. Certain programs (Critical Care, Infectious Disease Office Hours, Multi-specialty) recorded the profession of attendees when available. The Project ECHO research team collected COVID-19 infection data by county from March 11 through May 31, 2020. During that same period, 9765 health care and general education professionals participated in the COVID-19 programs, and participants from 31 of 35 (89%) counties in New Mexico attended the sessions. Our initial evaluation of these programs demonstrates that an interprofessional clinician group and teachers used the Project ECHO network to build a community of practice and social network while meeting their educational and professional needs. Because of Project ECHO's large reach, the results of the New Mexico COVID-19 response suggest that the rapid use of ECHO telementoring could be used for other urgent national public health problems.

Keywords: COVID-19; Project ECHO; distance education; telementoring; virtual learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Services / standards
  • Community Health Workers / education
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Mentoring / organization & administration*
  • New Mexico / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Rural Population*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine
  • Urban Population
  • Videoconferencing