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Project ECHO

Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a forum for delivering high-quality specialty care to underserved communities. Through monthly Zoom sessions on a variety of specialty care topics, physicians and other care team members from across the MaineHealth system connect for didactic presentations and case discussions.

Participants gain insight into specialty care treatment options and increase their capacity to deliver high-quality specialty care to MaineHealth patients, close to home. Session participants also receive free Continuing Medical Education (CME)/Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Join a growing network of qualified physicians sharing expertise and information that supports better patient outcomes in underserved/rural communities. 

Choose a clinical topic of interest below to register for one or more monthly sessions.

ECHO Hub Team:

Schedule: Fourth Wednesday of each month 12:00 – 1:00pm

Overview and Learning Objectives: The Clinical Research ECHO will focus on all types of clinical research including investigator-initiated projects. Participants will learn how to:

  • Access the most current resources and support available for clinical research
  • Understand the responsibilities of the Principal Investigator and research team
  • Evaluate the feasibility and/or financial impact of your research idea
  • Identify knowledge gaps and choose the appropriate research type and study design
  • Learn what to expect from the IRB and ethical reviews

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • Evaluating whether a sponsored clinical study is a good fit for your practice
  • Investigator and research team responsibilities
  • Communication strategies for keeping your study running smoothly
  • Common reasons for delays in IRB approval and how to avoid them
  • Best recruitment strategies

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ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leader: Irwin Brodsky, MD; Maine Medical Partners Endocrinology and Diabetes Center
  • ECHO Facilitator Alicia Webb, Administrative Specialist, MHEndoECHO@mainehealth.org

Schedule: 2nd Tuesday of each month, 7:30-8:30 am

Overview: Endo ECHO sessions provide primary care physicians and other clinicians with the opportunity to learn about and discuss a broad range of disorders in the fields of endocrinology and diabetes. Participants will discuss nuanced solutions to commonly-encountered problems, such as methods for choosing the appropriate osteoporosis therapy or methods for using new diabetes drugs and technology in the primary care environment. Complex patient cases will be presented at each session for in-depth discussion by the group.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn new information about treating/managing diabetes and endocrine conditions.
  • Participants will learn about criteria for referring or not referring patients with diabetes and endocrine conditions.
  • Participants will learn about treatment and management of diabetes and endocrine conditions through actual case examples.

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • Choosing medications for type 2 diabetes
  • Therapy of type 1 diabetes, including diabetes technologies
  • Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer
  • Evaluating hypercalcemia
  • Osteoporosis-diagnosis and treatment

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ECHO Hub Team:

Schedule: 2nd Wednesday of the month, 7:30 - 8:30 am

Target Audience: Primary care providers and care teams

Overview: The overarching goal of the Geriatrics Project ECHO is to increase knowledge and ability to manage older adults within their own communities using the IHI Age Friendly Health System framework of the 4Ms:

  • What Matters
  • Mentation
  • Mobility
  • Medications

By bringing together clinicians working with older adults, we will provide an opportunity to better manage the complex issues associated with aging. We expect to improve the care of older adults within their communities by promoting evidenced-based attention on areas that are particularly challenging to manage including dementia, depression, and functional decline. This collaboration will include health care providers, but will also provide relevant linkages to community-based organizations and include consideration of social determinants as well as caregiver needs that impact ability to aging in place.

Learning Objectives:

  • Improved understanding of illness in the context of aging and multiple co-morbidities
  • Incorporate the 4Ms of age-friendly health care into the approach of caring for older adults
  • Understand health system and community resources available to promote healthy aging

Planned Curriculum Topics:

  • Mobility: Falls Assessment in Primary Care
  • Mobility: Home Assessment & Safety: The tools, services and options for care
  • Mentation: Diagnosing Dementia
  • Mentation: Dementia Treatments and Management
  • Mentation: Delirium treatment and screening for primary care
  • What Matters: Serious Illness Conversations and Palliative Care
  • What Matters: Determining Hospice Eligibility
  • Medications: Diabetes Management in Older Adults
  • Medications: Chronic Heart Failure and Chronic Kidney Disease Management in Older Adults

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ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leader: Megan Selvitelli, MD; MMP Adult Neurology
  • ECHO Facilitator: Clifton Lewis, DO, Neurology Resident neuroecho@mainehealth.org

Schedule: Fourth Thursday of each month 7:30-8:30am | September 2022 – May 2023

Overview: The goal of the Adult Neurology ECHO series is to increase primary care providers’ confidence with diagnosis, evaluation and management of commonly seen neurologic disorders. Each session will focus on a different neurologic complaint and provide an opportunity for providers to discuss their own patient cases to garner input from experts in the field.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify organic neurologic disease through neurologic exam and basic accessible testing
  • Manage common outpatient neurologic problems with confidence
  • Understand basics of chronic or complex neurologic problems or their management that primary care providers may encounter with their patients
  • Identify when neurologic consultation is required

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • Migraines
  • Visual Disturbances
  • Approach to Dizziness
  • Management of First Time Seizure
  • Tics and Tremors

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ECHO Hub Team:

Schedule: 1st Thursday of each month, 7:30 - 8:30 am

Overview: The goal of the Palliative Care Project ECHO is to increase access to palliative care knowledge and skills in under-served areas throughout the MaineHealth service area. By exposing primary and specialty care providers to this new sub-specialty, it is hoped that patients and families living with serious illness will achieve the best possible quality of life, consistent with their self-reported goals. An overarching goal is to foster the development of a regional palliative care learning community through:

  • Formation of collaborative relationships
  • Exploration of interdisciplinary richness
  • Sharing of evidence-based and best practices

This new field of practice focuses on living well, in spite of serious and life-limiting illness.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn new information about Palliative Care
  • Participants will learn palliative care strategies to support patients
  • Participants will gain confidence in identifying and meeting the palliative care needs of patients and their families

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • What is palliative care?
  • Pain Management
  • Pediatric Palliative Care: Children are not just small adults.
  • What is spiritual pain?
  • Communication Part I: What are the critical elements of communicating serious news?

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ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leaders: Gina Quinn-Skillings, MD- MaineHealth, Robyn Ostrander, MD- Maine Medical Center, Scott Mills, MD- MaineHealth
  • ECHO Facilitator: Leah Schneckloth lschnecklo@mainehealth.org

Schedule: 3rd Thursday of each month, 7:00 - 8:00 am

Overview: The planning committee utilizes experience developing training materials and directly teaching cohorts of PLDF over the last 4 years to create an ECHO that meets ongoing leadership development needs of system medical leaders. We reviewed participant evaluations and training materials to find lessons most suitable to the ECHO format and pertinent to today’s medical leaders. This ECHO uses a closed-cohort model to facilitate deeper discussions and peer mentoring. The didactic portions are delivered by content experts but case discussions are led by a consistent facilitator, Dr. Quinn-Skillings, Dr. Mills or Dr. Ostrander, each working exclusively with a third of the larger cohort.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand a framework for leading people through change and transitions
  • Adapt your communication to utilize coaching, mentoring or managing styles as circumstances dictate.
  • Incorporate reflection and self-awareness into your leadership approach

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • Critical Conversations
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Feedback

ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leader: Kristen Silvia, MD; Maine Medical Center Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program Director
  • ECHO Facilitator: Adele Hays, Senior Project Manager, IMATECHO@mainehealth.org

Schedule: 4th Thursday of each month 12:00-1:00pm

Overview: Through didactic and case-based learning, IMAT ECHO sessions focus on the pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic evidence-based treatment of patients with opioid use disorder. It is open to MaineHealth system hospitals and affiliates interested in, or already, providing IMAT in our "hub-and-spoke" system.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn behavioral strategies for working with patients with opioid use disorder (OUD).
  • Participants will enhance their understanding of using medications (buprenorphine and naltrexone) to treat OUD.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of MaineHealth's hub and spoke approach to providing a continuum of care for patients with OUD.

Sample Curriculum Topics: 

  • Buprenorphine formulations
  • Care of the pregnant patient
  • Marijuana and MAT
  • Health screening and vaccination recommendations
  • Addressing stigma in the care of people with SUDs

ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leader: Brock Libby, MD; MMP South Portland Pediatrics
  • ECHO Facilitator: Brandy Brown, Program Manager, TGC@mmc.org

Schedule: Second Thursday of each month 8:00-9:00am | October 2022 – JMay 2023

Overview: The Foundations in Transgender Healthcare ECHO, led by The Gender Clinic, will provide up-to-date clinical information to increase clinical preparedness, improve attitudes, and augment the knowledge of healthcare providers and team members who work with this population, in any setting. This ECHO series will be comprised of six sessions, each with a different focus.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will report an increase in their clinical preparedness for working with TGNC patients
  • Participants will learn how to respectfully communicate with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming patients in a healthcare setting
  • Participants will understand and utilize data collection for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI tool)
  • Participants will understand the healthcare disparities that exist for transgender patients

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) in healthcare settings
  • Mental Health
  • Medical Care
  • Sexual Health
  • Surgery
  • Healthcare Advocacy

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ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leader: Alan Kilby, MD; Portland Gastroenterology
  • ECHO Facilitator: Jamie Johnston, RN, HepECHO@mainehealth.org

Schedule: 3rd Thursday of each month, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Overview: Hepatitis/HIV ECHO sessions provide education, support, and recommendations to clinicians caring for people with Hepatitis/HIV. Our goal is to share best practices for hepatitis/HIV care in areas where virology specialists may not be available - enabling primary care providers to care for their patients close to home.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn to manage their patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C or HIV
  • Participants will learn about treatment options and guidelines through actual case examples.
  • Participants will learn best practices and up-to-date information regarding Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • Chronic hepatitis C-the basics
  • Managing injection drug use in the primary care office
  • Acute viral hepatitis
  • Nutrition and liver disease
  • Chronic hepatitis C – when to refer to a specialist

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ECHO Hub Team:

  • Clinical Leaders: Renee Wolff, MD, MPH and Tina Holt, MD
  • ECHO Coordinator: Brianne Hodgkins, Medical Education Program Manager, CHWECHO@mainehealth.org

Schedule: Second Tuesday of each month 12:00-1:00pm (October 2022 – May 2023)

Overview: Challenges in accessing health care for new immigrant families in the Greater Portland area became acute during the pandemic, and still persist and need urgent attention. Maine Medical Center’s Preventive Medicine Enhancement for Maine program will continue its ProjectECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) series starting in October 2022, with a focus on Working with Community Health Workers for Improved Clinical Care. The focus of the sessions will expand to be directed at clinical caregivers. This monthly series successfully educated providers, community members, public health professionals and clinical teams on strategies to improve patient care for immigrant communities in Maine. Presenters shared the lived experiences of disenfranchised populations, highlighted the role of community health workers (CHWs), and created a platform for meaningful dialogue.

Learning Objectives:

  • To discuss how clinical care is impacted by Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) barriers experienced by immigrant populations
  • To develop strategies for mitigating healthcare barriers experienced by immigrant populations
  • To work with communities to develop recommendations to improve healthcare access to disenfranchised communities in Maine

Sample Curriculum Topics:

  • Community engagement, cultural context and immigration status
  • Addressing maternal, newborn and child health concerns
  • Preventive medicine: vaccination, routine health visits and cancer screening

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Project ECHO infographic