Background: Poison control centers and clinical toxicologists serve many roles within public health; however, the degree to which these entities collaborate is unknown. Purpose: The objective of this survey was to identify successful collaborations of public health agencies with clinical toxicologists and poison control centers. Four areas including outbreak identification, syndromic surveillance, terrorism preparedness, and daily public health responsibilities amenable to poison control center resources were assessed. Methods: An online survey was sent to the directors of poison control centers, state epidemiologists, and the most senior public health official in each state and selected major metropolitan areas. This survey focused on three areas: service, structure within the local or state public health system, and remuneration. Questions regarding remuneration and poison control center location within the public health structure were asked to assess if these were critical factors of successful collaborations. Senior state and local public health officials were excluded because of a low response rate. The survey was completed in October 2007. Results: A total of 111 respondents, 61 poison control centers and 50 state epidemiologists, were eligible for the survey. Sixty-nine (62%) of the 111 respondents, completed and returned the survey. Thirty-three (54%) of the 61 poison control centers responded, and 36 of the 50 state epidemiologists (72%) responded. The most frequent collaborations were terrorism preparedness and epidemic illness reporting. Additional collaborations also exist. Important collaborations exist outside of remuneration or poison control centers being a formal part of the public health structure. Conclusions: Poison control centers have expanded their efforts to include outbreak identification, syndromic surveillance, terrorism preparedness, and daily public health responsibilities amenable to poison control center resources. Collaboration in these areas and others should be expanded.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health