University Medical Center at El Paso County Hospital District, El Paso
The West Texas Regional Poison Center (WTRPC) at University Medical Center of El Paso is America’s first 24-hour bilingual regional poison control center certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers and is an integral partner in the Texas Poison Center Network.
We are designated to serve the 36 counties of West Texas in Public Health Regions 9 and 10. This region has a population of 1.35 million people (2010 census) and encompasses about 24% of the state’s land mass, 61,434 square miles.
The West Texas region is unique in that the majority of the population is concentrated in a few cities, El Paso, Midland/Odessa, and San Angelo, with hours-long distances between them. West Texas is noted to be an under-served region due to the limited availability of health-care providers found throughout the region. A call to the Poison Center can safely save long and unnecessary drives to area emergency rooms!
Recognizing the large number of Spanish-speakers found throughout our region, our entire staff is fully bilingual (English/Spanish). This allows us to provide the highest quality medical information to all of our patients, their caregivers, families, and healthcare providers. It also allows us to more effectively assist area educators, health care providers, emergency personnel, public health professionals, and law enforcement agencies with any items that may have been imported from Mexico.
The West Texas Regional Poison Center is a recognized pacesetter for effective and innovative poison center services for the 21st century including:
- Providing professional educational and training opportunities for healthcare professionals, residents, and students of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy from Texas Tech University Health Science Center – El Paso’s Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the University of Texas at El Paso’s School of Pharmacy, the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, along with other learning institutions.
- Presenting at over 250 public educational and outreach functions such as health fairs and wellness days each year including the annual Poison Jungle Safari and National Poison Prevention Week Poster Contest.
- Partnering with local and regional coalitions such as the Rise-Up Taskforce, El Paso Advocates for Prevention Coalition, Rio Grande Safe Communities Coalition, and the Paso del Norte Binational Health Council to host an annual Binational Substance Abuse Council Summit.
- Hosting “Pills and Thrills that Kill – Toxicology in Review”, a toxicology review course for physicians, mid-level providers, nurses, and pharmacists presented in El Paso annually by nationally known toxicologists.
- Serving as the initial pilot site for the Flu on Call, a collaborative project led by the CDC that aims to utilize America’s poison centers and 211 centers to assist in meeting the public’s medical needs during a severe influenza pandemic. Since proving that the model functions successfully in 2013, we continue to participate in ongoing activities to further develop and enhance the Flu on Call network.
- Partnering with the Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health (http://www.swcpeh.org/) to answer their 24-hour hotline (1-888-901-5665) for questions on environmental health concerns as they relate to children throughout EPA Region 6 (Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana).
- Serving as a resource for emergency healthcare providers, public health officials, substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals, and law enforcement agencies on new and emerging trends of potentially toxic substances (e.g. household products, medications, drugs of abuse, occupational hazards).
- Facilitation of bi-national collaboration and educational efforts between U.S. and Mexican healthcare professionals.
- A member of webPOISONCONTROL.org, the leading online poison center application and support tool available to the public, free and confidential.
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