of the community, the availability and funding of center staff, and the particular expertise of the staff (Zuvekas et al., 1997). Courses or individual lectures may be located at or near the poison control center, or in communities throughout the service area. The target audience may include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, emergency medical technicians, veterinarians, dentists, public health workers, or government employees who share responsibility for some aspect of poisoning prevention or management, such as HAZMAT responders. Poison control center staff often share the podium with other professionals at such conferences because the range and scope of toxicology is broad and collaboration with other professionals and agencies is an integral part of both center service and educational efforts.
Poison control center staff also contribute to professional continuing education via publications, including editing toxicology textbooks, writing book chapters or review articles, contributing sections to references such as Poisindex®, and preparing review or teaching documents for government agencies such as ATSDR.
Poison control centers contribute to the education of a wide variety of health care professionals, including medical, nursing, pharmacy, and dental students; medical and pharmacy residents and fellows; and EMTs. Training may include rotations through the centers where they observe or assist with call management or information retrieval, lectures in formal courses, or the participation of poison control center personnel in hospital rounds. Education of these trainees is important as a means of disseminating standards of care for the poisoned patient, and in creating interest in this field among younger trainees who might later choose to obtain further training in toxicology or careers involving poison control centers.
Poison control center education of trainees also contributes to the scope of their education. However, there are many more training programs for health care professionals than there are poison control centers, and not all training programs are located near a center. Thus the extent to which poison control centers contribute to the education of health care professionals varies greatly (Zuvekas et al., 1997). For example, a survey of emergency medical technician training programs showed that 81 percent of such programs had access to a regional poison control center, and 11 percent offered rotations in centers to trainees (Davis et al., 1999). Where such relationships are established, poison control centers can contribute to the education of health care professional students, residents, or fellows through lectures incorporated into their required courses (e.g., a lecture on management of overdose as part of a pharmacology course for