How a health center in Puerto Rico met the Zika crisis head-on

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017


Since September, Migrant Clinicians Network and the Puerto Rico Primary Care Association have been hosting the Zika ECHO Clinic for front line clinicians treating patients with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico. Every month, the ECHO project brings together over 40 nurses, doctors, promotores de salud, and other health advocates to enhance communication, gain insight and current information from specialists focused on the virus, and share resources, case studies, and best practices.

The Zika ECHO Project has adopted the model of Project ECHO, an innovative learning and knowledge-sharing platform developed by the University of New Mexico. Through teleconferencing, telehealth technology, and clinical management tools, Project ECHO provides training, guidance, mentoring, and networking for clinicians in underserved areas, to help build specialty care capacity within the primary care model. For rural Puerto Rico, the Zika ECHO Clinic has enabled communities to quickly mobilize and respond to the Zika virus, a health crisis that has greatly affected the country’s large agricultural worker population. This has been one way health centers have responded to the serious and widespread emerging issue.

The Director of Nursing at Costa Salud Community Health Centers in Rincón, Puerto Rico, Tamara Soto, RN, MSN, has been an active participant in the Zika ECHO Clinic. The following interview outlines actions taken as the disease emerged and outlines the health center’s preparations for the future.