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Project ECHO

Project ECHO Launches New Pediatric Behavioral Health Service Line

Friday, March 30, 2018

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) launched the latest in its Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) teleclinic service line – Pediatric Behavioral and Emotional Health ECHO: Infancy through Adolescence.

In the United States, 21 percent of children and adolescents meet diagnostic criteria for mental health disorder with impaired functioning. Seventy-five to 80% of children and youth in need of mental health services do not receive them. In Oklahoma, the 2nd leading cause of death for children ages 11-18 is suicide. OSU-CHS has launched its Pediatric ECHO to provide opportunities for prevention, early detection and treatment.

“My experience is that it is not uncommon for waitlists for child and adolescent psychiatry to be several months long. Typically these families say that their children have been struggling for years without evaluation or intervention. Unfortunately stigma continues to play a role in care of mental illness in Tulsa and across the nation. Yet, suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents. It is imperative that we talk about mental illness, so that we can appropriately diagnose and treat our children,” said Sara Coffey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at OSU-CHS.

The Pediatric Behavioral and Emotional Health ECHO clinic is designed for community providers who are interested in learning how to provide more effective care for children and adolescents struggling with mental health problems. Through videoconferencing technology and a guided practice model, the ECHO teleclinics allow OSU-CHS providers to share their expertise and knowledge of evidence-based best practices for treating behavioral and emotional health conditions in primary care and school settings for ages 0 to 18.

The Pediatric Behavioral and Emotional Health ECHO will:

  • Increase knowledge of evidence based practices in pediatric behavioral and emotional health.
  • Facilitate collaboration, support, and ongoing learning with specialists and other clinicians, including but not limited to:
    • Infant mental health
    • Child and adolescent psychiatry
    • Neuropsychology
    • School psychology
    • Clinical psychology
  • Focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Real-time clinical review of cases submitted by participants.

By participating in the Pediatric Behavioral and Emotional Health ECHO weekly videoconferences, rural and urban health providers such as physicians, physician assistants, nurses, therapists and school counselors can tune in via their computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets to hear a lecture on specific topics and to consult with a panel of OSU-CHS specialists on best practices for treating conditions related to pediatric behavioral and emotional health.

“The Pediatric Behavioral and Emotional Health ECHO is a huge asset for our community as well as a tremendous resource for providers across the state and in rural Oklahoma. I found the first clinic extremely helpful and I plan to have one of my clinical supervisors participate each week,” said Whitney Downie, chief program officer, Children’s Mental Health and Family Support at Family & Children’s Services.

“I think this is an important initiative, not only to be able to be part of a community clinical team, but also to see the real life emotional and behavioral health issues that are presented through the lens of different experts. The background and knowledge that the OSU Medicine psychiatry ECHO team brings to the table is unmatched,” Downie continued.

There is no charge for rural providers to participate in OSU-CHS Project ECHO programs, thanks to generous support received from The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, and the Telligen Community Initiative

 “Project ECHO is a great way for our team of specialists to share their medical knowledge with providers across our state, especially those who take care of patients in rural communities. Through Project ECHO, rural providers can acquire the knowledge to treat many of their patients in their hometowns without having to refer them to an urban health care facility. Patients get the right care at the right time from the right provider,” said OSU-CHS President Kayse Shrum, D.O.

 “The latest Project ECHO initiative of OSU Center for Health Sciences to strengthen pediatric behavioral and emotional health is the most recent example of their commitment to improve health outcomes for our state. We are proud to support these initiatives that are making medical care and medical knowledge more accessible to rural Oklahoma,” said Judy Kishner, President, The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation.

In addition to the Pediatric Behavioral and Emotional Health ECHO service line, OSU-CHS Project ECHO also offers: Childhood Obesity Medicine ECHO, Addiction Medicine ECHO, Psychiatry ECHO, and Viral Disorders ECHO.

Developed by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Project ECHO increases access to specialty care to rural and underserved communities. For more information about OSU-CHS Project ECHO contact Tara Jackson,, 918-561-1460 or visit

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