Project ECHO

WMCHealth National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network (NHCAN) Project


Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education developed by the University of New Mexico (UNM) that empowers clinicians to provide better care locally by increasing access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas. It focuses on providing front-line clinicians with knowledge and support for managing patients with complex conditions using a peer-to-peer hub and spoke model of continuous learning, partnering healthcare providers in community settings with specialist mentors at the academic medical center hub. Providers are afforded the opportunity to get expert advice about their most challenging patients and healthcare system issues in virtual Grand Rounds.

Since 2018, Westchester Medical Center (WMC), the flagship hospital of the WMCHealth Network, a 1,700-bed healthcare system with 10 hospitals on eight campuses in the Hudson Valley region, NY, has served as one of Project ECHO® hubs in NYS. In respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, WMC has been among the first academic medical centers in the US to respond and successful mitigated the devastating consequences of COVID-19.  Currently, WMC is collaborating with the ECHO Institute at UNM, AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) and IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) to launch the new national Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network (NHCAN) program.

Project Goals

This is a one-year program starting in the fall of 2020. This program aims to reach over 15,000 nursing homes to provide geriatric and infectious disease expertise. The goals are:

  • Preventing COVID-19 from entering nursing homes via staff, visitors, and patients.
  • Should the virus enter the nursing home, preventing greater spread among patients, staff, and visitors.
  • Providing best-practice care and treatment for patients who test positive for COVID-19.
  • Protecting staff from infection and ensuring best-practice safety measures, to help staff build confidence in their work, feel safe from infection, and support staff retention.
  • Ensuring that patients who are dying from COVID-19 can safely receive visitors.

Benefits of Becoming a Partner in the WMCHealth NHCAN ECHO Project

  • Receive FREE training that is relevant to caring for residents in your own facility to prevent and reduce COVID-19 infections, based on the latest federal guidelines.
  • Receive FREE CMEs for your team at no cost to you; 1 hour = 1 CME credit conducted via videoconference
  • Be better equipped to meet CMS’ (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) performance indicators for additional COVID-19 relief funding.
  • Access to WMCHealth’s experts in infection control, nursing homes, and a national expert in Quality Improvement.
  • Receive $6,000 for participation
  • Expand the network of providers with whom you can share discussions about complex care and quality improvement.

CME Accreditation Statement:

New York Medical College is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

New York Medical College designates this Live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

What Type of Commitment Will My Nursing Home Have To Make?

  • Participation for the first 16 weekly sessions (90 minutes);
  • Optional participation in and access to 36 additional weekly sessions;
  • Two to four staff members may attend (i.e. Administrator, Medical Director, nurses, and staff).


Areas of discussion will include Infection Prevention and Control, Clinical Care, Leadership, Staff and Residents, and Quality Improvement.

WMCHealth NHCAN ECHO Project Staff 

Expert Panel

Donald Chen, MD – Hospital Epidemiologist; NHCAN ECHO Medical Director

Christopher S. Esola, LNHA, MBA, RD, CDN – Nursing Home Administrator

Sophie Labrecque RN, Nurse Epidemiologist

Marc Tack, DO, Chair of Medicine

Stephen Lobo, MD - Associate Hospital Epidemiologist, Attending Physician

Rita Sussner RN, Director of Infection Control

TBD – National QI Expert

Administrative Team

Thao M. Doan, MPH, DrPH –NHCAN ECHO Principal Investigator/Facilitator

Nivedita Bajaj, MA, MPH – Project Administrator

TBD– Project Manager

Karlene Wilson– Project Coordinator

Tentative Schedule 2020-2021

Please CLICK HERE for the Tentative Didactive Schedule (pdf), along with topics and presenters.


WMCHealth NHCAN ECHO® Project uses plug-and-play technology; all you need is a computer, a webcam, and a broadband internet connection for ZOOM. There is no cost to participate in ECHO sessions. Participants may be asked to complete pre-session and post-session surveys to evaluate changes in knowledge and self-efficacy.

To contact us by email please click here. We will get back to you as soon as possible.