What is the Project ECHO Network in North Carolina?

In April, we announced the launch of the Project ECHO Network in North Carolina (PEN-NC). 

This is such an exciting development for our state, and we are already hard at work with the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) to get everything started. We can’t thank the Duke Endowment enough for its funding support of this project. 

Project ECHO’s History 

When ECHO founder Dr. Sanjeev Arora learned that a 43-year-old widow and mother in New Mexico died from untreated hepatitis C because she couldn’t travel for treatments, he developed a way for doctors to train each other and share information to prevent such occurrences from happening again. 

An ECHO project is a virtual learning community, connecting subject matter experts with their peers to listen, share, and learn together. Its mission is to “Make knowledge accessible at the right time.” 

Expanding Project ECHO’s Reach 

Although it was developed out of the University of New Mexico with the goal of creating digital spaces to share life-saving knowledge, mentorship, and support across professions in the health, education, and civics spaces, Project ECHO now tackles some of the world’s biggest challenges.   

There are ECHO projects already active across North Carolina and around the country and globe. PEN-NC will focus primarily on improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians by building upon FHLI’s legacy of collaboration and NC AHEC’s leadership in workforce development.  

Serving North Carolina 

We are fortunate in North Carolina to already have many Project ECHO programs. But, these programs don’t serve all of our communities and sometimes have inefficiencies in provider and subject matter expert recruitment. 

PEN-NC will serve as the first statewide Project ECHO Network in the country and will help create a more efficient network for health care providers by connecting already existing projects and helping to launch new ones. 

It will help improve healthcare throughout the state by connecting key partners, eliminating duplication and inefficiencies, and promoting best practices in curriculum development and technology-enabled education delivery statewide. 

We believe that convening diverse groups of stakeholders is key to solving the biggest problems we face. For more information, visit our new PEN-NC website. As of the summer of 2023 we are developing and disseminating a needs assessment to inform what PEN-NC’s membership network will look like. If you would like to be involved, make sure you sign up on the PEN-NC page.