TULSA– Governor Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties
due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns on March 15, 2020.
In response and in an effort to rapidly disseminate as much information as possible on best
practices for hospitals and health care providers, Dr. Kayse Shrum, president of Oklahoma
State University Center for Health Sciences, directed the creation of a Project ECHO COVID-
19 service line that can address the resources needed for Oklahoma’s rural health systems.
“As a publicly supported academic health center, it’s our obligation at OSU Medicine to step
up to meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 health crisis. As Governor Stitt’s
Secretary of Science and Innovation and a member of his Solution Task Force on COVID-19,
we are charged with deploying as quickly as possible all available resources across the
state to help abate the disease in light of its rapid onset,” said Shrum. “Project ECHO COVID-
19 service line allows us to share our knowledge and health care best practices with rural
health providers so that they can be better equipped to diagnose, test, and treat patients
The goal of the Project ECHO COVID-19 service line is to assist rural practitioners,
hospitals, nursing homes, and even state and local stakeholders in policy and
appropriations in meeting the challenges the disease is placing on rural communities and
The Project ECHO COVID-19 service line launched March 20 with more than 150
participating organizations, representing physicians’ groups, critical access hospitals and
nursing and extended care facilities,” said Dr. Joseph Johnson, associate dean for Project
ECHO at OSU Center for Health Sciences.
The COVID-19 Oklahoma update ECHO will be held weekly, every Monday, Wednesday and
Friday at 8:30 a.m. The sessions are for health workers. You must register to participate.
Register at health.okstate.edu/echo.
“The goal with this ECHO program is to address the changes in health practice and provide
information necessary to flatten the curve of spread in our communities,” Johnson said.
The growing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Americans of all ages, with, according to the
CDC, older adults and those with serious underlying medical conditions considered most at
risk, said Tara M. Jackson, DrPH, executive director of OSU-CHS Project ECHO.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation and our expert COVID-19 Oklahoma Update ECHO team
closely monitors the prevalence and transmission rates of the virus and shares knowledge
with healthcare providers across Oklahoma of best-practices in the diagnosis, treatment
and containment of this disease. That’s how Project ECHO is responding to meet needs of
our State,” Jackson said.
The OSU Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) program is a
collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians
in rural and underserved communities to provide specialty care to more people right
where they live.
Through the use of technology, Project ECHO connects an interdisciplinary team at the OSU
Center for Health Sciences with community providers to discuss treatment for chronic and
complex medical conditions.
COVID-19, or the coronavirus disease as it is commonly referred to, is a contagious
respiratory disease that was first detected in China in December of 2019 and now has
impacted the world as well as Oklahoma.
While considered a “novel” coronavirus, meaning it is a new form of a virus, it is currently
being tracked as a life-threatening disease with an expanding nature to counties
“Although, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects widespread
transmission of COVID-19 in our country being prepared in our rural communities will
decrease the mortality rates. Pai is one of the experts leading the Project ECHO COVID-19
service line,” said Dr. Gitanjali Pai, an infectious disease specialist at Stilwell Memorial
To register for the OSU-CHS COVID-19 Project ECHO visit health.okstate.edu/echo.
About Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and OSU Medicine
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences is a nationally recognized academic
health center focused on teaching, research and patient care. OSU Center for Health
Sciences offers graduate and professional degrees through its College of Osteopathic
Medicine, the School of Allied Health, the School of Health Care Administration, the School
of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Forensic Sciences. OSU Medicine also operates a
network of clinics in the Tulsa area offering a multitude of specialty services including
addiction medicine, cardiology, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry,
surgery and women’s health. Learn more at health.okstate.edu.
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