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The Center Hosts First Rural Healthcare Ethics ECHO

On Wednesday September 22, 2021 the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center (GRHIC) hosted its first Rural Healthcare Ethics ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) session with Dr. Brian Childs and Dr. Lauren Bunch, Mercer University School of Medicine. The group of fourteen participants consisted of a wide range of rural health professionals from all parts of the state. The sessions started with an overview of Informed Consent, allocation of scarce resources, defining death (universal definition of death), withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and how technology interacts with ethics to start the discussion.

With this basic understanding of clinical ethics and landmark cases, the discussion turned to the cornerstone of all future discussions – why do ethical conflicts arise and how to come to a consensus? Ethical conflicts can arise from differences in values, lack of consensus among facilitators and disagreements on the goals of care. Strategies for dealing with these issues will be covered in future ECHO sessions with participants bringing their specific cases to the group for discussion and collaboration.

ECHO is a national telementoring program rooted in a collaborative learning community model used throughout healthcare to build skills and communities of practice. The uniting principle of ECHO is “all teach all learn” emphasizing the value of every member’s experience and knowledge. ECHO is not a lecture or webinar. It is an interactive, collaborative learning experience facilitated by subject matter experts but lead by participants. The program was developed out of the University of New Mexico and has thousands of successful hubs across the world.

If you are interested in learning more about Project ECHO and other programs at the GRHIC, please visit