Poison center data for public health surveillance: Poison center and public health perspectives

How to Cite

Glidden, E., Boyd, L., Schauben, J., Mulay, P. R., & Law, R. (2018). Poison center data for public health surveillance: Poison center and public health perspectives. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v10i1.8592



To discuss the use of poison center (PC) data for public health (PH) surveillance at the local, state, and federal levels. To generate meaningful discussion on how to facilitate greater PC and PH collaboration.


Since 2008, poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States; since 1980, the poisoning-related fatality rate in the United States (U.S.) has almost tripled1. Many poison-related injuries and deaths are reported to regional PCs which receive about 2.4 million reports of human chemical and poison exposures annually2. Federal, state, and local PH agencies often collaborate with PCs and use PC data for PH surveillance to identify poisoning-related health issues. Many state and local PH agencies have partnerships with regional PCs for direct access to local PC data which help them perform this function. At the national level, the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts PH surveillance for exposures and illnesses of PH significance using the National Poison Data System (NPDS), the national PC reporting database and real-time surveillance system.
Though most PC and PH officials agree that PC data play an important role in PH practice and surveillance, collaboration between PH agencies and PCs can be hindered by numerous challenges. To address these challenges and bolster collaboration, the PC and PH Collaborations Community of Practice (CoP) has collaborated with members to provide educational webinars; newsletters highlighting the intersection of PH and PC work; and in-person meetings at relevant national and international conferences. The CoP includes over 200 members from state and local PH departments, regional PCs, CDC, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


The panel will consist of 3 presenters and 1 moderator, who are members of the CoP. Each presenter will bring a unique perspective on the use of PC data for PH practice and surveillance. Dr. Prakash Mulay is the surveillance coordinator for chemical related illnesses and injuries in Florida. His primary focus is on carbon monoxide, pesticide, mercury, and arsenic poisoning. He also works as a liaison between the Florida Poison Information Centers and Department of Health. Dr. Mulay has a Medical Degree from India and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology from Florida International University, Miami. For the purpose of the panel discussion, Dr. Mulay will provide PC PH collaboration from the state perspective.
Dr. Jay Schauben is the Director of the Florida/United States Virgin Islands Poison Information Center in Jacksonville, the Florida Poison Information Center Network Data Center, and the Clinical Toxicology Fellowship Program at University of Florida Health-Jacksonville Medical Center/University of Florida Health Science Center. He is board-certified in clinical toxicology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology. In 1992, Dr. Schauben implemented the Florida Poison Information Center in Jacksonville and played a major role in crafting the Statewide Florida Poison Information Center Network. On the panel, Dr. Schauben will provide collaboration insight from the PC perspective.
Dr. Royal Law is the surveillance and technical lead for the National Chemical and Radiological Surveillance Program, housed within the Health Studies Branch at the CDC. He received his PhD in Public Health from Georgia State University and his MPH at Emory University. Dr. Law will provide insight from the national level including CDC use of PC data for public health surveillance activities.

How The Moderator Intends to Engage the Audience

After the panel members have been introduced and shared their contributions and experiences with PC PH collaboration the moderator will engage the audience by facilitating discussion of the successes and challenges to using PC data for PH practice and surveillance.
Sample questions:
What are your current capacities and collaborative activities between your state/local health department and your PC?
What non-funding related barriers hinder the collaboration between your state/local health department and PC?
If no increase in funding were available, how would you increase the level of interactivity with the PC and state/local health department? What if funding was available?


1Warner M, Chen LH, Makuc DM, Anderson RN, and Minino AM. Drug Poisoning Deaths in the United States, 1980–2008. National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief, December 2011. Accessed 8/29/2012.
2Mowry JB, Spyker DA, Brooks DE, Zimmerman A, Schauben JL (2016) 2015 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data Systems (NPDS): 33rd Annual Report, Clinical Toxicology, 54:10, 924-1109.



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