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Project ECHO Helps First Responders Connect To Experts And Colleagues

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Junior Lilbby
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Public Domain Pictures

University Showcase, Friday 01/17 8a: First responders undergo enormous stress on their jobs. They run into burning buildings, pull people from mangled cars, respond to mass shootings, help people overdosing on drugs and treat patients in emergency rooms. Many struggle at times with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and thoughts of suicide.

It can be difficult to acknowledge the need for help to colleagues. Now Project ECHO is working to make that easier by connecting first responders with experts and with one another to talk through these issues and get help on how to deal with them. On this episode we talk with Paramedic Lieutenant Bryan Breeswine of the Albuquerque Fire Department and Dr. Joanna Katzman, medical director and senior associate director with the ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico.

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Project ECHO telemedicine meeting

ECHO has used its telemedicine program successfully in a number of ways, including treating Hepatitis C and help providers in rural areas address an array of illnesses. It brings together experts to mentor colleagues remotely.

First responders can register online here to join the weekly meetings. For more information, contact Karina Dow at FirstResponderECHO@salud.unm.edu

Additional resources:

Psychological Trauma: The Silent Stalker - Journal of EMS Studies

How One Paramedic Is Recovering From PTSD - Journal of EMS Studies
The Effects of Trauma On First Responders - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administation
Emergency Responders: Tips For Taking Care Of Yourself - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Interview with Project ECHO Founder Sanjeev Arora - University Showcase, KUNM

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.