Rotation& Education

Medical Toxicology Education

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Upper Level Elective and Rotation for Residents and Fellows of other Medical Departments

This four week clinical elective will provide students with experience in the assessment and treatment of toxicology patients. Students will spend time with toxicology faculty and fellows in consultation, examination, treatment, and follow-up of patients in the emergency, inpatient and outpatient settings. The clinical experience will include daily clinical rounds on inpatients, outpatient consults, including Children's Hospital, and Pittsburgh Poison Center case reviews. Medical students attend daily rounds with the medical toxicology fellows and rotating residents and will be expected to join the resident and attending on cases presenting to UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Montifiore, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Magee Hospital. A portion of the rotation will be at the Pittsburgh Poison Center, where students will learn from current patient cases and summary case reviews. During the month long rotation, students, are expected to take four shifts of home call. This provides the opportunity for students to see an acutely ill patient at the height of toxicity. In additon, they are required to present a 10 - 15 minute PowerPoint outline on toxicology related topic of interest or curiousity.

Daily teaching sessions will be provided by members of the Medical Toxicology Service on the spectrum of toxicology subjects. Sample topics include: initial approach to the toxicology patient, decontamination, acetaminophen, salicylates, toxic alcohols, antidepressants, bites and stings, iron, and digoxin. Students will also attend the Medical Toxicology Service lectures that are given to other services and departments. Additionally, the student will be encouraged to participate in on-going research projects if available (e.g. chart review). Students will also be encouraged to prepare interesting cases for scientific presentation and publication. The overall curriculum will help students develop their knowledge base in medical toxicology, and improve their ability to diagnose and treat a poisoned patient. For more information, please email Janna Nelson at


  • To develop skills in the initial evaluation and treatment of poisoned patients.
  • To learn the fundamentals of medical toxicology and basic tenets of managing toxicology patients.
  • To understand the capabilities of and resources available through a regional Poison Center as applied to care of individual patients.


  • Required readings from course syllabus
  • Clinical on-call duties during daylight hours, and during off-hours by arrangement
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Pittsburgh Poison Center information

Education and Teaching

Apart from providing clinical services to inpatients and outpatients, the Division of Medical Toxicology also provides educational lectures to medical staff throughout UPMC Health System's hospitals and affiliated hospitals.

Fellows and the emergency medicine and occupational medicine residents cover various topics while rounding on our service. Some of these lecture topics are available to professional groups: hospitals, medical staff, in-service training, nursing staff, or paramedic groups. If you are interested in having one of these lectures presented, please call 412-647-9922 for scheduling.

Some of the topics covered by our toxicologists:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Occupational toxiocology
  • Life Threatening Drug Interactions
  • Toxic Inhalants
  • Pesticides
  • Snakebites and Envenomations
  • GI Decontamination
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Radiation
  • Clinical Update in Toxicology
  • Approach to the Poisoned Patient
  • Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Mushrooms: Toxic & Hallucinogenic
  • Heavy Metals
  • Solvents
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Common Overdoses
  • Drugs of Abuse
  • Analgesics


  • Toxicology Core Curriculum Review for pediatric and adult Emergency Medicine Residents.
  • Clinical Elective for Pediatric, Internal Medicine andOccupational Medicine residents.
  • Medical Toxicology Journal Club (weekly)
  • Core Toxicology Review Topics for affiliated residencies (Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry).
  • Clinical Elective for medical students
  • Clinical Elective for critical care fellows
  • Continuing Medical Education and Outreach Conferences for regional MD's, RN's and EMT's.
  • Toxicology component of medical student selective in Clinical Pharmacology.
  • Toxicology for EMT-P classes at the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania