SSRC to develop Early Childhood Support Network

SSRC to develop Early Childhood Support Network

SSRC to develop Early Childhood Support Network

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STARKVILLE, Miss.—A total of 150 family members of Mississippi children—newborn to age 8—soon will have a virtual support network through a Project ECHO program supported by Mississippi State’s Social Science Research Center.

ECHO, or Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, is a learning model founded by Dr. Sanjeev Arora of the University of New Mexico as an approach to knowledge sharing for rural or underserved communities. Project ECHOs are now utilized around the globe and across disciplines. The SSRC's new Project ECHO to Expand Rural Developmental Health Training and Technical Assistance (ECHO RDH) has received $800,000 in funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration

Lisa Long, an SSRC project manager, leads the effort to provide training, resources and support to new family participants who will be selected this fall, along with and an additional group of 150 early childhood professionals. New participants will be identified and recruited through partnerships with state and nonprofit agencies and will convene in virtual meetings next year. Meeting topics may include a variety of development and behavioral issues impacting children, such as speech development or health eating habits.

“We will create virtual communities of learners that meet bi-monthly by connecting families and early childhood professionals with experts in early developmental health, behavior and education. Each meeting will have time for a brief ‘mini-workshop’ training and child case studies, and we will foster an “all learn, all teach” approach,” said Long.

Both the group of families and professionals will be paired with experts and specialists who can address concerns and educate the groups. The SSRC team will build partnerships with state and non-profit agencies to create a collaborative environment highlighting other Mississippi early childhood initiatives and resources.

“Our team has a heart for young children, experience in education, and the benefit of having led other early childhood ECHOs. Through this project, we provide access to an expert team for gaining information and strategies to support children in ‘real’ time without families or early childhood professionals having to leave the home or workplace,” said Long.

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