In 2012, GE Foundation funded a pilot in New Mexico focused on expanding access to mental health and substance use care in rural community health centers across the state. Soon realizing the model could be transformational for increasing access to primary care, GE Foundation began a five-year partnership to support the ECHO Institute with its goal of reaching 1 billion lives around the world.
The goal was to support the ECHO Institute with unrestricted, core funding to catalyze program expansion, develop needed infrastructure to support that growth and facilitate model adaptions into “New Frontiers” or non-clinical areas to build workforce capacity.
The growth and momentum globally has been extraordinary in scale, model adaptations, sustainability and outcomes. Since the GE Foundation partnership began, Project ECHO has:
Launched 336 global HUBS, a 600% increase
Expanded to 38 countries, a 375% increase
Adapted to other disciplines, including education, community policing, quality improvement, crisis response, bio/chemical threat, and more
Received major U.S. Congressional focus through the ECHO Act 2016 and ECHO Act 2019
Embedded ECHO into US Federal funding streams
Increased global government funding
Increased philanthropic funding and support
Realized 122 academic publications
GE Foundation and Project ECHO are aligned in their vision of workforce capacity building. As the world becomes complex, with more advanced technologies or medicines, with populations that are more dispersed and mobile, there becomes a greater need for skills development. Project ECHO provides a solution. It is an ideal model to address geographic distances, to deploy learning models ideal for adult learning, and to be nimble and able to develop new learning environments as new issues or crises arise in almost real-time.