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Sanjeev Arora, M.D.

arora-spotlightSanjeev Arora, M.D.
Department of Internal Medicine
Director, Project ECHO®
Health Sciences Center, The University of New Mexico

Dr. Arora has disclosed two inventions, received two registered U. S. trademarks, and has one pending trademark registration. A specialist in liver diseases, he has been involved in the management of viral hepatitis for over 15 years, and led the development and implementation of the Hepatitis C Disease Management Program at UNM’s Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Arora is the Director of Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). In 2003, he developed the Project ECHO® model, whose mission is to develop the capacity to safely and effectively treat chronic, common, and complex diseases in rural and underserved areas and to monitor outcomes of this treatment. Project ECHO is a disruptive innovation that dramatically improves both capacity and access to specialty care for rural and underserved populations. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is accomplished by linking expert, interdisciplinary specialist teams with primary care clinicians through teleECHO clinics, in which the experts co-manage patient cases and share their expertise via mentoring, guidance, feedback and didactic education. This enables primary care clinicians to develop the skills and knowledge to treat patients with common, complex diseases in their own communities, which reduces travel costs, wait times, and avoidable complications. Technology is used to leverage scarce healthcare resources, and the specialists at academic medical centers are better able to attend to the most complex, high-risk patients. The ECHO model is not “telemedicine” where the specialist assumes the care of the patient, but instead is a guided practice model where the primary care clinician retains responsibility for managing the patient, operating with increasing independence as their skills and self-efficacy grow. In 2007, Project ECHO® came in first among more than 300 entries from 27 countries in winning the Changemakers award. This international competition was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson and Ashoka Foundations to identify programs that are changing the paradigm of how medicine is practiced. In 2009, Project ECHO® received grant funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for demonstration and replication of the ECHO® model as a robust paradigm to expand best-practice care for vulnerable populations.

In 2012, it was announced that Project ECHO® was awarded nearly $8.5 million over three years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Care Innovation Awards. The award is administered through HHS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and estimated to save more than $11 million in health care costs over the same time period. Under the grant, UNM will identify a team of primary care “intensivists” trained to care for complex patients with multiple chronic diseases who will work with area managed care organizations and care providers. Project ECHO® will train and increase primary-care clinicians’ capacity to treat and manage complex patients.

In 2013, Project ECHO received a $5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create and support the ECHO Institute at UNM’s Health Sciences Center. The Institute will develop a model of the program to disseminate worldwide and will collect data from ECHO programs to develop best practices for clinical care. Project ECHO has also received a $4.7 million grant from the GE Foundation to develop and evaluate a new model that will integrate mental health care into the primary care model. This 3-year pilot project will train teams of nurse practitioners and community health workers, working with UNM mental health specialists, to screen for, diagnose and treat mental illness and substance abuse in eight community health care centers in New Mexico.

UNM-Affiliated Registered Trademarks

4,212,865 ECHO®, registered September 25, 2012
4,212,866 PROJECT ECHO®, registered September 25, 2012

UNM-Affiliated Pending Trademark Registrations