URMC Launches World's First ECHO® Eating Disorders Clinic

Jan. 23, 2017
Members of the team who launched the world's first Project ECHO Eating Disorders clinic for community providers: Aaron Pollard, Michelle Morales, Rita Pelusio, Jennifer DeSanto, Ann Griepp, Kimberly Erway, Marie Bieber, Mary Tantillo, Richard Kreipe, Taylor Starr.
The world’s first Project ECHO® tele-education hub specializing in the care of individuals with eating disorders and their families launched Jan. 3 at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model creates collaborations between local clinicians and multidisciplinary teams of experts in areas of specialized medical knowledge at academic medical centers. The aim to is to reduce health disparities and expand access to evidence-based treatment by educating and counseling primary care, behavioral health, and college health providers in regions with few or no specialty-trained providers.
Utilizing web-based videoconference technology, eating disorder experts at URMC provide the local community providers with training on identifying and managing eating disorders, as well as the interprofessional skills required to effectively participate on multidisciplinary eating disorder teams. 
“Eating disorders are diseases of disconnection,” said Mary Tantillo, Ph.D., P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C., F.A.E.D., C.G.P., professor of clinical nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing and director of the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders (WNYCCCED). “We need to create learning communities of health care providers to support and connect with one another in order to help patients and their families do the same.
“Project ECHO® provides an excellent opportunity for true interprofessional education to build knowledge and skills about eating disorders, in addition to enhancing interdisciplinary team functioning and treatment planning."
Tantillo and Richard Kreipe, M.D., medical director of the WNYCCCED, provide oversight for ECHO® Eating Disorder training. They collaborate with other members of the expert team, which includes a young adult peer mentor, a parent peer mentor and mother of a young adult in recovery, a care manager, and other multidisciplinary providers, such as providers from the University of Rochester School of Nursing, Golisano Children’s Hospital, The Healing Connection Inc., and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, to conduct the virtual clinics.
Clinics session are comprised of case review (de-identified cases from participants) and brief didactic instruction. Participants who review cases receive a written summary of recommendations from the ECHO® Eating Disorders team and participants attending each clinic.
Project ECHO® Eating Disorders is sponsored by the WNYCCCED, which is funded by the New York State Department of Health Division of Chronic Disease Prevention. The WNYCCCED, a partnership between the UR School of Nursing and Golisano Children’s Hospital, is directed out of the UR School of Nursing, and serves as the hub for eating disorder services in the 30-county western New York region. It estimates that more than 27,000 individuals living within Monroe County alone have an eating disorder.
Launched in 2003 at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Project ECHO® is a movement to demonopolize knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best-practice care for underserved people all over the world. It currently operates more than 110 hubs for more than 55 diseases and conditions in 22 countries.
Project ECHO® Eating Disorders team members include:
Mary Tantillo, Ph.D., P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C., F.A.E.D., C.G.P., Director of WNYCCCEED
Richard Kreipe, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.S.A.M., F.A.E.D., Medical Director of WNYCCCED
Taylor Starr, D.O., F.A.A.P., Associate Medical Director of WNYCCCED
Rita Pelusio, M.S.Ed., Senior Program Manager, WNYCCCED
Aaron Pollard, Technical Director, WNYCCCED
Jennifer Dry DeSanto, B.S., M.S.Ed., Care Manager, WNYCCCED 
Michelle Morales, Parent Peer Mentor, WNYCCCED
Meredith Perrin, Young Adult Peer Mentor, WNYCCCED
Marie Bieber, B.A., R.D., The Healing Connection, Inc.
Ann Griepp, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Behavioral Health, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield
Kimberly Erway, M.D., Medical Director, Behavioral Health, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield