Dr. Sanjeev Arora
Sanjeev Arora is the seventh awardee of the Presidential Award of Distinction, established by UNM President Robert G. Frank in 2013.

Rural healthcare in New Mexico is a challenge in many cases due in part to the long distances in between cities and towns, and the need for timely healthcare. Back in the early-2000s, Sanjeev Arora starting thinking about the issue and recognized the need to do something about it.

Arora, a Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at The University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center (HSC), is the director and founder of Project ECHO, the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO).

Arora developed the ECHO Model as an innovative paradigm to expand access to specialty medical care for vulnerable populations and underserved areas. This helps rural clinicians develop knowledge and self-efficacy so they can adopt research findings and deliver best practice care for complex and chronic health conditions.

In recognition of his accomplishments with Project ECHO, UNM President Robert G. Frank will honor and recognize Arora with the 2016 Presidential Award of Distinction at the May 14 spring commencement ceremony at WisePies Arena aka. The Pit. Arora is the seventh awardee of the Presidential Award of Distinction, established by Frank in 2013.

“Dr. Arora is a true visionary, one who dares to dream of how things could be – and he has the rare combination of skill and determination needed to make these dreams into reality. His contributions to the health care industry, especially the creation of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes), continue to shape global standards in the medical community.” – UNM President Robert G. Frank

Frank established the honor to recognize outstanding career achievement, scholarly excellence, leadership in a profession, noteworthy public service or humanitarian endeavor. It is commemorated with a bronze medallion displaying the UNM Presidential Seal on one side and a howling lobo on the other.

“Dr. Arora is a true visionary, one who dares to dream of how things could be – and he has the rare combination of skill and determination needed to make these dreams into reality,” Frank said. “His contributions to the health care industry, especially the creation of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes), continue to shape global standards in the medical community.”

Presidential Award of Distinction
The Presidential Award of Distinction was established to recognize outstanding career achievement, scholarly excellence, leadership in a profession, noteworthy public service and or humanitarian endeavor.

The first teleECHO clinic was developed in 2003 to respond to a growing health crisis hepatitis C and has since expanded to cover over a dozen other specialty areas and at Academic Medical Centers across the United States and around the globe.

Using videoconferencing technology integrated with clinical management tools, ECHO builds capacity among community-based clinicians via case-based learning and co-management of patients. This helps rural clinicians develop knowledge and self-efficacy so they can adopt research findings and deliver best practice care for complex and chronic health conditions.