Tele-mentoring program offers childhood obesity expertise to caregivers statewide

Nov 2, 2017

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center was one of two programs nationwide to receive a “Project ECHO” grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Karla Lester, medical director of Children’s Center for the Child & Community, says the tele-mentoring program’s initial topic is childhood obesity. 

Lester says obesity is found in one in three children nationwide.  And 6% of children in the US are considered severely obese. 

She says Project ECHO began in mid-October and includes 15 lunch time sessions on the topic of childhood obesity and issues stemming from it.

"So we wrote our grant based on training community physicians on the early identification of obesity within primary practice.  And then the up to date assessment and management of those co-morbidities, or diseases, like diabetes and fatty liver disease that are associated with weight gain.  And so we recruit community physicians from across the state and work with some of our partners who recruit community physicians and partners who would be interested in participating.”

Lester says ECHO clinics happen every couple of weeks over the noon hour. 

She says community physicians sign in through a link provided in advance of each session.  Each clinic features a presenting specialist who offers a 15-20 minute PowerPoint. 

After that, the community physicians each present one of their cases without identifying information.  Lester says this is followed by a case review or a discussion.

Ultimately, Lester says the ECHO clinics help create a bi-directional learning network. 

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