Launching an innovative educational model addressing substance use disorders and dental pain management (Project ECHO® in dentistry)

Richie Kohli, Karan Replogle, Andrea Gough-Goldman, Barry Taylor, Brandon Maughan, Harjit Singh Sehgal, Megan C. Herink, Rosemarie Hemmings, Sean Mahoney, Margaret Mc Lain McDonnell, Kenneth McLemore, Eli Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Uninformed opioid prescribing by dentists has contributed to the current opioid crisis. This report describes the development and implementation of an innovative, interactive, multidisciplinary, and participant-centric telementoring program “Pain Management and Substance Use Disorders Dental ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes)”. We disseminated information to dentists about appropriate opioid prescribing practices and engaged them with a focus on pain management and substance use disorders. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of this program for self-reported: (1) change in knowledge and confidence related to clinical skills for dental pain management of patients with substance use disorders; (2) change in clinical behavior of dentists for safe opioids prescribing; and (3) change in clinic policies regarding safe opioids prescribing. Methods: An interdisciplinary panel of experts in medicine, pharmacy, social work, and dentistry designed and led the “Pain Management and Substance Use Disorders Dental ECHO” for invited dental care providers and dental students. Six cohorts each consisting of six, 1-h-long sessions were conducted via the Zoom videoconference platform in years 2020 and 2021. Each session included a didactic expert presentation, a participant-presented patient case and discussion. Each participant completed pre- and post-program surveys to assess the program’s influence on participant knowledge, clinical confidence and behavior change. Results: The participants (N = 151) were dentists (n = 109), dental faculty (n = 15), dental residents (n = 6), dental hygienists/assistants (n = 13) and nurses and clinic administrators (n = 8). Self-reported perceived medication knowledge, confidence in identification, treatment and willingness to engage with substance use disorders patients, and reported compliance with Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) checks increased significantly from before to after the sessions (p < 0.001). Overall, participants expressed high levels of satisfaction with the content and reported that the sessions provided high benefit. Conclusion: The Project ECHO model is effective in rapidly disseminating evidence-based information. Dentists viewed this model as having a high degree of benefit for the optimal management of dental pain and the recognition and treatment of substance use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number402
JournalBMC oral health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Case-based learning
  • Dental pain management
  • Interprofessional education
  • Opioids
  • Project ECHO model
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Launching an innovative educational model addressing substance use disorders and dental pain management (Project ECHO® in dentistry)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this