Project ECHO Hub Specialist Spotlight: Yekalo Beyene
Project ECHO Spotlight interviews feature advocates, participants or team members discussing their experiences with ECHO. Read more ECHO Spotlights.
Yekalo Beyene, MD
4Ms of Age and Dementia Friendly Care
Dr. Beyene has participated in the 4Ms of Age and Dementia Friendly Care series with Project ECHO at Penn State College of Medicine, which provides training to providers interested in improving health outcomes for patients in a rural healthcare setting facing challenges related to age and dementia.
Dr. Beyene was trained as an electrical engineer before attending medical school. He had friends who were in pre-med and became very interested in another challenging opportunity. He has worked for Primary Health Network since 2018. Primary Health Network is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) providing services to patients in underserved areas.
Thoughts on Project ECHO
“Around 2019, two nurses from State College came and talked to us about ECHO, which is where my interest originated, and I haven’t been disappointed. The case learning method is something I’ve been practicing since my days in residency training, so I did not have any hesitations around participating. Medicine is about learning every day and I’ve met so many smart people in ECHOs that I have learned so much from – I am still in touch with some of the people I’ve met. The thing that stands out from my participation in the 4Ms series is that to treat patients as a patient as a whole, we need to know them and follow what matters to them – things like mobility and medications are part of it, but it’s the time you spend with patients and showing them that you care that matters. One of the things we discussed in 4Ms is adjusting medications, and it’s very hard for someone who has been on a medication for 20 years, to tell them that you want to wean them off and do something else. I don’t care how much they trust you, that will be one of the most challenging things. But ECHO is one of the best things to learn from. It has been enlightening and I have learned so much and will always follow it. After participating in ECHO, I ask as much as I can, always review the medications, and ask what matters most to that patient.”
Dr. Beyene’s Advice for Future Participants
“I’ve participated in the 4Ms series for two years. It’s very easy to participate in ECHO and is worth the time. Even if you don’t want to present a case, just sitting down and listening will help. I was lucky enough to present cases and would advise someone considering whether to present a case: it doesn’t have to be perfect – no case is perfect – so just be yourself and present it the way it is. The hub team and other participants are very welcoming and patient with the case presentations.”
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