Project ECHO launches program to reduce alcohol-related harm in New Mexico

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New Mexico has the unfortunate distinction of living the nation third highest rate of alcohol-related deaths per capita.

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Project ECHO has launched an initiative to reduce alcohol-related harms and associated conditions across the state.

“Problematic alcohol use can cause significant harm to physical, mental and social well-being, with well-known implications for future generations,” said Jasen Christensen, DO, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Sciences. behavior of the UNM.

“Treating problematic alcohol use can be difficult, and it is difficult to keep up with recent evidence and the changing landscape of local treatment options,” he said in a press release announcing the initiative.

Leveraging Project ECHO’s groundbreaking guided practice telementoring model, Christensen and his team will create a statewide community of healthcare providers who will share evidence-based treatment approaches.

The New Mexico ECHO Alcohol and Mental Health Programlaunched July 19, meets twice a month with participants learning through multidisciplinary lectures and lively discussions of anonymized cases.

“Our goal is to make it easier for New Mexico health care providers to engage people in treatment, keep them in treatment, and reduce alcohol-related harm,” Christensen said. Some of the conditions associated with alcohol consumption include liver disease, heart disease, depression, and anxiety disorders.

“The ECHO Alcohol Use and Mental Health Program in New Mexico will fill an urgent need,” said Sanjeev Arora, MD, Founder and Director of the ECHO Project. “It has the potential to improve the lives of tens of thousands of New Mexicans by bringing best practices in early diagnosis and treatment to every corner of our state.”

The program brings together UNM experts in psychology, addiction medicine, internal medicine, and psychiatry.

Discussion topics include the causes, effective screening, treatment of harmful alcohol use, and the identification and treatment of co-occurring medical and psychiatric problems. It is available to New Mexican healthcare workers of all disciplines, and participants will receive free training, technical assistance and mentorship.

Founded in 2003, the ECHO project is a global non-profit organization that empowers practitioners and professionals in rural and underserved areas to reduce disparities and improve the well-being of people in the communities where they live. ECHO’s free virtual mentorship model tackles some of the world’s biggest challenges in healthcare, education and more, with a mission to touch 1 billion lives by 2025.

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