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A child holding a stethoscope to a teddy bear
By Shelby Perea

Project ECHO Connects Care Providers With Children in Need

Project ECHO’s Safe Care New Mexico program is working to make sure children who have experienced sexual and physical abuse are not falling through the cracks.

Jane* is one of those children who might have been overlooked if it weren’t for Safe Care New Mexico. Following allegations of abuse and concerns about her home life, the Safe Care New Mexico team connected Jane with experts who ensured she received the necessary medical evaluations and created a plan for her care and long-term safety.

Safe Care New Mexico helps clinicians treat children who have, or may have, experienced physical and/or sexual abuse by bringing medical, law enforcement and social worker experts together to provide those children with holistic care – a unique, multidisciplinary team that leverages diverse skill sets to benefit New Mexico’s children and their individual needs.

Without the Safe Care team in place, Jane’s specialized medical and mental health needs would have likely gone unaddressed in her rural hometown in northern New Mexico.

 

Leslie Strickler, MD

The people involved in her case were able to do their jobs better and they had peace of mind knowing the child was safe.

Leslie Strickler, MD, Safe Care New Mexico Program Director

“The people involved in her case were able to do their jobs better and they had peace of mind knowing the child was safe,” said Leslie Strickler, DO, the Safe Care New Mexico program director and a pediatrician with highly-specialized training in cases of child abuse.

Getting specialized care to children who have experienced physical and sexual abuse can be a real problem, especially in rural states such as New Mexico.

Strickler explained that children who live in rural or outskirt areas – such as Grants, Taos and Roswell – often don’t have access to the services that are available in Albuquerque. Rural providers might not have the expertise, time or resources to offer tailored treatments and conduct necessary tests. Plus, it can be foreign and intimidating for doctors to work with Child Protective Services and law enforcement.

Become an ECHO Partner

The Safe Care New Mexico program, which launched in May 2020, is bridging that gap. Strickler and other experts are able to share their knowledge to expand resources and treatment for children in New Mexico. The program fosters collaboration with a wide range of professionals who are working with child abuse and neglect cases from around the state and country.

“[Project ECHO] is a safe and confidential place to learn, ask questions and openly talk about those tough cases,” said Pamela Romero, a Child Protective Services investigations supervisor with Santa Fe County. “It also provides a support system . . .  to discuss situations that are difficult.”

Strickler wants to see the impact of Safe Care New Mexico reach every county in the state. With increased support, she could make that a reality, helping more children like Jane.

*Jane is a fictional name to protect the identity of the patient.

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Categories: Project ECHO