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Project ECHO

Virtual Training on Women-Centred HIV Care

Project ECHO is a knowledge-sharing method that encourages service providers to adopt new evidence-based practices. We took a unique community-based research (CBR) approach to the ECHO model to train 131 service providers from across Canada on Women-Centred HIV Care (WCHC).

How does Project ECHO work?

In the Project ECHO model, participants teach each other. Real (anonymized) cases are presented to hub teams of experts and fellow participants, and as the cases are discussed, the team's knowledge is refined together. This creates a "loop" of mentoring and learning that has been shown to facilitate learning and create long-term impacts on service providers' practices. You can read more about the method here.

How was the method innovated with CBR?

While Project ECHO hub teams typically consist entirely of clinical experts, we adapted the methodology to ensure community voices were at the forefront of the initiative: clinical experts and community experts were paired up in teams of co-presenters. Each week, the co-presenter team would collaborate to develop learning objectives and poll questions, and to integrate the community hub member's lived experiences into the presentation material. Co-presenters were paid a fair hourly wage using a flexible, transparent payment policy. Those interested can find the weekly summaries here.

Ontario ECHO

We began with a provincial pilot cycle in Ontario.

Dates: October 2021 to June 2022

Provinces: ON

Sessions: 13

Participants: 35 service providers learning WCHC

National ECHO

Then we expanded to a national cycle.

Dates: October to December 2022

Provinces: BC, AB, SK, MN, ON, QC, NL

Sessions: 8

Participants: 97 service providers learning WCHC

Quantitative Results

Over the two cycles, we reached 131 service providers from 7 provinces and provided guidance on 21 clinical cases.


Evaluations demonstrated that the training altered participants' attitudes and behaviours around WCHC: In the national ECHO, participants reported improved confidence in 15/15 abilities, including the ability to provide WCHC.

Pie chart. The largest slices are community-based workers and nurses, followed by physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and residents.

Participants by Profession

Qualtitative Results

Participants told us that the perspective brought by women with lived experience made this experience unique. They reported specific practice changes regarding trauma- and violence-aware care, peer support, and capacity building. They liked the inclusion of practical resources and the case-based format that encouraged collective brainstorming and networking. Community members felt that their voices were heard, honoured, and validated. As one community member put it: "ECHO is an example of GIPA and MEWA principles in action."

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