Facilitator Reflections on Shared Expertise and Adaptive Leadership in ECHO Autism: Center Engagement
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IntroductionProject Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) is used to increase provider capacity in a wide range of health care specialties. ECHO Autism: Center Engagement is a program that promotes improvement in autism care by improving the management of autism care centers. The program's focus brought experienced clinicians together as both facilitators and participants in an ECHO series. ECHO Autism: Center Engagement facilitators devised a reflective writing exercise to prospectively study their experience leading this new curriculum.
MethodsDrawing on a qualitative thematic analysis of longitudinal reflective writing exercises from seven "Hub Team" facilitators, we describe how ECHO leaders cultivate a learning environment that emphasizes shared learning and acknowledges the expertise of ECHO participants.
ResultsThe analysis generated three main themes: (1) Hub Team facilitators valued reciprocal exchange with Spoke sites, a theme we name "shared learning," (2) Hub Team facilitators demonstrated high levels of awareness about their facilitation styles, and (3) Hub Team facilitators cultivated an interactional style they described as "all teach, all learn."
DiscussionExamining the experiences of ECHO facilitators produces qualitative accounts of continuing professional development that may not be captured in other program evaluation approaches. In the case of ECHO Autism: Center Engagement, facilitators cultivated an environment of shared learning, which acknowledged the expertise of both facilitators and participants. These findings are pertinent for scholars of continuing education in health professions who lead educational programs where participants and facilitators have high levels of overlap in their areas of expertise and years of experience.
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