Washington, D.C. 16 October 2023 – In a significant development, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Digital Learning in Health Emergencies (USA-479). This collaboration aims to bolster digital learning to strengthen emergency preparedness and response.
The designation of this institution as a WHO Collaborating Centre is effective for four years, beginning on August 23, 2023. It will empower WHO to leverage Project ECHO's expertise in digital learning, particularly in response to public health crises. Professors Sanjeev Arora and Bruce Struminger will serve as Directors of the Centre.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for innovative virtual learning approaches in delivering critical training and support, and this collaboration comes at a crucial time. Dr Heini Utunen, Unit Head of Learning & Capacity Development at WHO Health Emergencies Programme, emphasized the urgency of virtual learning in delivering critical training and support. Project ECHO, with over two decades of experience in rapidly disseminating complex public health and clinical knowledge at a low cost, is uniquely positioned to assist WHO in achieving its objectives.
Through the Collaborating Centre for Digital Learning in Health Emergencies, Project ECHO will support WHO in the design and implementation of digital learning initiatives. These initiatives will utilize the ECHO Model's case-based virtual communities of practice, webinars, and other online tools to provide technical assistance and training.
This support will be crucial, especially in geographically dispersed locations with limited resources. This partnership builds upon previous successful collaborations between ECHO and WHO in various healthcare training and mentorship areas. Together, they are committed to addressing global health challenges and preparing for future pandemics.