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Poison Centers

Utah Poison Control Center Partners with Key Stakeholder

The Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) is a proud program of the University of Utah College of Pharmacy and is staffed around-the-clock with pharmacists and nurses. Poison center services were established in Utah in 1954 under the guidance of Dr. Alan Done making it one of the first poison centers in the U.S.  

Staff at the UPCC play an important role educating pharmacy students, emergency medicine residents and pediatric emergency medicine fellows as well as a direct role in the post graduate training of pharmacists, through the UPCC fellowship in Clinical and Applied Toxicology.The UPCC has fostered partnerships with many health care and public health professionals throughout the state. Below are some highlights of our successful collaborations in disaster preparedness, surveillance and outreach.

Utah had the largest chemical stockpile in the United States; the only stockpile to have every type of agent and every type of munition. As Utah became part of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), the UPCC became an integral part of the team in all aspects of planning and response. Since the early 1990’s, the UPCC has participated in annual full-scale Federal Emergency Management Agency drills. While the CSEPP program has ended, the UPCC continues to be a key player in statewide disaster preparedness activities. 

In 2009, the UPCC purchased an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system with funds from the Pandemic All Hazards Preparedness Act grant. The IVR allows us to broadcast routine and urgent public health messages on our phone system. Initially programmed with public health messages about cryptosporidium, the IVR has been used to provide information about medication take-back events, and most recently to aid in the investigation of a measles outbreak.

The UPCC surveillance activities include providing data on food related illness to the county health department and environmental exposures to the state health department as part of the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program.

The UPCC contracted with two rural health districts in 2009 as a pilot project to enhance outreach to rural communities. In 2010, we worked with a 3rd health district, which increased the number of people we reached and the number of materials we distributed. In addition, the UPCC has conducted focus groups and increased outreach activities in a county whose population is 55% Native American. This past year the utilization of poison center services increased over 50%.

Finally, with state Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the UPCC developed a toxicology education program in a train-the-trainer format. The training, along with a toxidrome booklet, was provided to all certified EMS instructors to distribute.