Toxicology Fellowships Focus on Poison Care and Environmental Disasters
A newly certified
two-year program involving a collaboration between Grady Memorial Hospital,
Emory University School of Medicine, the Georgia Poison Center and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will focus on teaching
physicians how to prevent and prepare for environmental disasters, providing
medical support for the Poison Center, and caring for poisoned patients
at Grady, Emory and Crawford Long hospitals.
The Emory University School
of Medicine's Medical Toxicology Fellowship program is one of 19 certified
fellowships in the United States to provide this training, and is unique
in emphasizing an epidemiological and public health approach to medical
toxicology. The program will target research and CDC-related activities
yielding investigations throughout the United States and the world where
toxic outbreaks occur. Scott Whitlow, M.D., and Michael Schwartz, M.D.,
will begin the fellowship in July 2002.
"This program will expand
the field of medical toxicology, and will help better serve the needs
of the environment and the needs of people who are poisoned or exposed
to harmful substances," said Brent W. Morgan, M.D., director of the
Medical Toxicology Fellowship program, and assistant professor of emergency
medicine for the Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Hospital.
"This includes anything from household poisons and drugs of abuse to
environmental poisons and pharmaceutical, chemical and biological warfare
The fellowship was created
primarily because of Emory's medical expertiseand the other surrounding
medical resources in Atlanta. There also was a growing area of concern
related to the plethora of pharmaceuticals now available, as well as
the potentials for environmental disasters and chemical terrorism attacks.
"We think teaching other
physicians to be prepared for these events will be helpful," Dr. Morgan
Starting the fellowship in
Atlanta seemed only natural, Dr. Morgan notes. Given the resources at
Grady that include the Georgia Poison Center, hospital patient population,
and the expertise of the CDC, "pulling all of those resources together
will make it one of the top programs in the country," Dr. Morgan said.
The American College of Graduate
Medical Education (ACGME) certified the Medical Toxicology fellowship
program in January 2002.
"The unique feature about
this program among all other medical toxicology fellowships is its emphasis
not just on individual patients, but its emphasis on an epidemiological
view and a view of the environmental contributions to toxicology," said
Robert Geller, M.D., director of the Georgia Poison Center and associate
professor of pediatrics for the Emory University School of Medicine
at Grady Hospital. " It uniquely takes advantage of the CDC approach
as well as the Poison Center approach and the clinical approach that
we employ at Emory already."
The fellowship is also unique
in that it will be treated as a public health discipline, and will train
physicians with a combination of skills appropriate for a medical toxicology