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WVCTSI Project ECHO launches new Multiple Sclerosis program

West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) has launched a program to enhance the capacity of primary care providers in diagnosing and caring for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Leveraging Project ECHO's evidence-based tele-mentoring model and peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing network, the program focuses on diagnosing, managing, and treating MS and other neurodegenerative diseases within the primary care setting. This model allows patients to receive specialty care in their own communities.

This new effort is a collaboration between the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) and WVCTSI Project ECHO.

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system, manifesting in diverse ways among individuals. While some may experience mild symptoms, others may face challenges such as loss of vision, impaired writing, and speech, or difficulties in walking due to disruptions in the communication between the brain and other body parts.

“We are very excited about this collaboration with IPHI,” said Jay Mason, director of community programs and the WVCTSI Project ECHO. “The experience they bring working with this population and reach across the region will really set this ECHO Project up for success. The subject matter experts here at WVU are eager to share their knowledge and provide the mentoring and training needed in the primary care setting related to MS.”

The program offers monthly sessions that cover early symptoms of MS, monitoring techniques, patient-centered care, MS therapies, and neurodegenerative diseases.

“People living with chronic neurologic diseases often find themselves isolated from specialty healthcare and supportive services,” said Lauren Ruiz, senior program manager for the Institute for Public Health Innovation. “This educational program strives to build the confidence and expertise of frontline, rural healthcare, and social service providers to fill this gap and reduce health disparities for people living with MS and other neurologic diseases.”

The monthly sessions, which will run from January to December 2024, will take place on the first Wednesday of each month from 12-1 p.m. via Zoom. These no-cost sessions are also recorded and uploaded to the WVCTSI Project ECHO YouTube page for additional viewing. WVCTSI Project ECHO offers continuing medical education credits for all who participate. For more information on participating in the ECHO project, please contact Jay Mason at or Elisabeth Minnick at

The ECHO model originated at the University of New Mexico and is utilized worldwide to address various health needs.

WVCTSI Background

WVCTSI is funded by an IDeA Clinical and Translational grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (U54GM104942) to support the mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure and capacity to impact health disparities in West Virginia.