Clinicians – want to learn more about autism?
More than a half million autistic individuals will turn 18 years old in the next decade. To meet their physical and mental healthcare needs, novel approaches to train and support community clinicians are essential. A new initiative is doing just that by recruiting primary-care clinicians who would like to learn more about the autistic adults they serve.
This initiative utilizes the ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Model™, which is being used worldwide to bolster clinicians’ expertise in more than 80 medical conditions. The ECHO Model was initially applied to autism in 2015 by the University of Missouri-Columbia, when Dr. Kristin Sohl developed the ECHO Autism Program. Since then, the University of Missouri has greatly expanded their this program and has trained multiple health systems and other organizations implement this model across the world. The ECHO Autism Program is a vehicle that supports the notion of creating Autism-Ready Communities, so that all people with autism can be served well, regardless of where they live.
The Department of Defense is invested in improving the care of autistic adults and has funded an ECHO Autism program specifically designed for primary care clinicians who serve adult patients. This new adult autism training program has been developed by clinician-researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Tennessee, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the University of Virginia.
VUMC is currently seeking clinicians nationwide – physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants – who provide care for adults and likely have patients on the autism spectrum to participate in the ECHO Autism: Adult Healthcare Program. ECHO Autism programs leverage no-cost video sessions led by nationally renowned autism experts. The ECHO Model™ is structured as an all teach, all learn framework that encompasses interactive, case-based learning and brief, high-yield didactic presentations/lectures.
This is a unique opportunity to enhance the quality of healthcare for adults on the autism spectrum. Throughout sessions, clinicians will increase their knowledge and understanding about autism spectrum disorders (ASD), in addition to learn evidence-based, best-practices to help manage common co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions associated with ASD.
Clinicians interested in the ECHO Autism: Adult Healthcare Program are asked to commit to a series of trainings 90-minute virtual learning sessions, where they have an opportunity to present their patient cases and receive expert advice. The virtual platform allows clinicians to participate from the comfort of their home or office. Lecture topics will include:
- Identifying autism in adults;
- Managing co-occurring medical and behavioral health conditions, including sleep;
- Using psychotropic medications;
- Housing, education, employment and community supports; and
- Supporting families/caregivers.
The ECHO Autism: Adult Healthcare Program will start in November 2020. If you know of a primary care clinician who is interested or would like to encourage your current physician to participate, have them contact Janet Shouse by Oct. 16th! Participants will receive compensation for completing study measures as well as earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for each session attended. Maintenance of certification Parts 2 and 4 are also offered.
For more information, watch this six-minute video presented by Vanderbilt principal investigator Beth Malow, M.D., M.S., and study coordinator Janet Shouse. You may contact Malow or Shouse to enquire about participating in the ECHO Autism Adult Healthcare Program.