MU Extension and Show-Me ECHO partnership

Amy Bartels, Human Development & Family Science Specialist WC Region

What is ECHO? Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) utilizes telehealth technology to connect primary care practitioners in rural areas with other like-minded professionals to increase knowledge needed to provide high-quality specialty care.   Through innovative “telementoring”, the ECHO model uses a hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing approach where expert teams lead virtual clinics, amplifying the capacity for providers to deliver best-in-practice care to the underserved in their own communities.

The University of Missouri School of Medicine launched Show-Me ECHO in 2014, a state-funded telehealth project operated by the Missouri Telehealth Network.  Show-Me ECHO has been designated as one of 14 global Suberhubs for training others to create ECHOs. MU has also launched some of the first and only ECHOs in such areas as COVID-19, opioid use, rural veteran’s behavioral health, developmental disabilities, and kidney disease.

How do Extension and ECHO work together? Community Health Engagement and Outreach, a branch of MU Extension, integrates local initiatives with MU’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative. The program leverages partnerships and connections with MU Health; nursing, medicine and public health schools; and extension faculty across Missouri to reimagine the future of healthcare needs, interventions and outcomes for all Missourians.

In 2020-21, Show-Me ECHO partnered with 23 MU Extension faculty to increase the impact and reach across the state.  Because of Extension’s longstanding role in communities across Missouri, Show-Me ECHO saw a unique opportunity to grow.  By meeting with local and regional stakeholders to offer education on benefits of Show-Me ECHO and encourage participation, MU Extension faculty increased statewide participation in several key ECHO hubs, including the recruitment of 100+ Missouri nursing homes to participate in a 16-week interactive community of practice to advance improvements in COVID-19 preparedness, safety and infection control.

By focusing on all the factors that contribute to our health and well-being, we are able to partner and work collaboratively to positively impact the health and well-being of individuals, communities and the state. Through coordinated, collective action and focused intention, we lead with curiosity and partnership in mind, continually improving in order to work efficiently, cohesively and succinctly.

How do I get involved? Show-Me ECHO brings knowledge from specialists to primary care providers, who then give patients improved care in their own communities. Show-Me ECHO learning sessions offer free continuing education and are provided at no cost to participating sites and individuals. To join, visit and register for an ECHO today.

For additional questions, email or call 1-877-882-9933 (toll free).