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UW College of Health Sciences Supports Mental and Behavioral Health in Rural Communities

March 2, 2020
four women posing in front of a sign that says ECHO
Leaders of the new professional learning community on primary and mental health integrative care are, from left: Sandy Root-Elledge, executive director, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND); Mary Burman, a professor in UW’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing; Canyon Hardesty, director of community education in WIND; and Nancy McGee, a clinical assistant professor in UW’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing. (UW Photo)

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) and the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing in the University of Wyoming’s College of Health Sciences have partnered to launch a new online professional learning community, UW ECHO for Integrative Care: Primary Care and Mental Health.

This new network will provide structure and guidance to better equip primary care physicians and other health care professionals throughout Wyoming to more effectively identify and treat mental and behavioral health issues in rural, underserved communities.

The integrative care network will use the ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model, with Zoom videoconferencing technology, to enable health care professionals to participate statewide. WIND successfully integrated this model for use in health, education and family support training networks.

UW ECHO for Integrative Care was launched last month. Nancy McGee and J’Laine Proctor, clinical assistant professors in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program in the UW School of Nursing, presented models of integrative care. Integrative care is the result of a team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians working together using a systematic approach to provide patient-centered care.

“Integrating mental health services and primary care is critical in Wyoming, given the significant unmet needs related to mental illness and substance abuse disorders,” McGee says. “This ECHO project is one aspect of the School of Nursing’s efforts to address these needs.”

The ECHO sessions provide the opportunity to present both individual and programmatic case scenarios that represent challenges to patient care involving behavioral health. Working within the network, cases can be reviewed by primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and social workers to identify how patient care can be delivered more effectively.

The McMurry Foundation provided funding for the ECHO Integrative Care learning sessions for a three-year period.

“We are so grateful to the McMurry Foundation for funding the ECHO for integrated behavioral health care,” says School of Nursing Professor Mary Burman. “This allows us to work with primary care and mental health clinicians from across the state as we increase access to mental health services for all.”

“ECHO gives us the ability to not only hear and see you, but to talk directly with you about your concerns and what you’d like to learn more about,” says Canyon Hardesty, director of community education in WIND. “This way, we can all learn from one another.”

ECHO sessions will be provided every other week through May on Thursdays from noon-1 p.m.  Sessions are open to individuals providing health care in Wyoming, including physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and mental health professionals.

For more information, visit www.uwyo.edu/wind/echo/mental-health/index.html.

Contact Us

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window) Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)

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