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

with COVID-19.”

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

health systems.

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

throughout Oklahoma.

“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

Hospital.

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.

For media inquiries, contact Melani Hamilton, managing director of Marketing and

Communications, melani.hamilton@okstate.edu, or 918-809-8963.

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