Project ECHO

 Partnership objectives

Expand access to specialty care for complex, chronic conditions (e.g., hepatitis C, HIV, TB, diabetes, mental health) and strengthen healthcare capacity in rural and underserved communities in India and Vietnam.

A community health worker program will also be developed to further expand access to appropriate care in rural communities. A community health worker program will also be developed to further expand access to appropriate care in rural communities. Copyright Project ECHO

What are the health needs and challenges? 

Limited or lack of access to needed specialty care services, particularly for complex, chronic conditions, in rural and underserved communities. 

Need to strengthen the skills and capabilities of primary care providers in rural or remote settings so that they can manage and treat their complex patients in their own communities – enabling the right care at the right place and at the right time.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges 

The ECHO Institute, in collaboration with local implementing partners, will replicate Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) in selected communities in India and Vietnam.  Project ECHO® is a “telementoring” model that links expert multidisciplinary specialist teams with multiple primary care providers through “virtual clinics” (teleECHOTM clinics) where experts mentor and share their expertise via case-based learning, thereby enabling primary care clinicians to develop the ability to treat patients with complex conditions in their own communities.  A community health worker program will also be developed to further expand access to appropriate care in rural communities.

This initiative aims to: 

  • Improve the quality and performance of health workforce
  • Strengthen the capacity of the health care system
  • Demonstrate the utility of the ECHO model as an efficient approach to improve access to quality health care

Summary of impact and forward looking information 

The University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute will be developing and implementing a robust evaluation plan to assess the impact of the ECHO model in expanding access to specialty care and improving healthcare capacity in participating communities in India and Vietnam.

Measurement of progress towards objectives 

  • The Foundation is committing US$7 million over five years to support the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute in replicating Project ECHO® in India and Vietnam. 
  • The University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute will be developing and implementing a robust evaluation plan to assess the impact of the ECHO model in expanding access to specialty.

Partnership information

Company(ies) MSD

Partner(s) ECHO India Trust, Merck Foundation, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s ECHO Institute

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Other Business

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Infectious Diseases, Other, Mental and Neurological Disorders

Disease(s) Cancer, Diabetes, General Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Disorders, Mental Health, Tuberculosis

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, South Asia

Number of Countries 2

Country(ies) India, Vietnam

Start Date 2017

Anticipated completion date 2021