American College of Medical Toxicology Receives a $5.7 Million Cooperative Agreement to Address Pediatric Environmental Health

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The American College of Medical Toxicology has been awarded $5.7 million from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to manage Pediatric Environmental Health Special Units in the western regions of the United States.

American College of Medical Toxicology

This is an enormous opportunity to extend the reach of the PEHSU network, allowing clinical care providers and the public greater access to environmental medicine expertise.

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) has been awarded a $5.7 million cooperative agreement spread over a five-year period with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). ACMT will manage the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) Program in the five western regions in the US. ATSDR is a Public Health Service Agency that is co-located with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. CDC/ATSDR is led by CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH who also serves as the ATSDR Administrator. The PEHSUs are located in 12 academic university medical centers with at least one in each of the 10 federal regions of the United States. Each PEHSU offers health care professionals and community members expert education, consultation, and referral related to the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of environmentally related health effects. The long-term goal of the PEHSU program is to reduce environmental health threats to children at their earliest stages of fetal development to adulthood.

ACMT’s Principal Investigator for this cooperative agreement, Carl Baum, MD, FAAP, FACMT, is a pediatrician and medical toxicologist at the Yale University School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. He serves as director of the Yale Lead and Healthy Homes program and has extensive experience in issues related to children’s environmental health. Examples of pediatric environmental health threats include breathing difficulty from pesticides, lead poisoning from deteriorated paint dust, or even cancer from radiation. According to Dr. Baum, "The PEHSU program, which has been in existence since 1998, has provided a referral and educational network for medical professionals and the public. This is an enormous opportunity to extend the reach of the PEHSU network, allowing clinical care providers and the public greater access to environmental medicine expertise."

Since 1999 ACMT has had a series of cooperative agreements with ATSDR managing the National Environmental Medicine Education and Consultation Project. The program has provided an assortment of educational activities to health care providers and first responders on health effects of hazardous substances exposure on topics such as reproductive toxicology, pesticide residues in the indoor environment, pediatric asthma and environmental exposures, endocrine disrupting chemicals, risks in investigating illicit methamphetamine labs, and understanding chemical threat agents. Through this program, ACMT established a national consultation network supporting the ATSDR Regional Offices.

With the ATSDR funding, ACMT will work with the PEHSUs in the five federal regions in the western portion of the U.S. to provide education to health care providers and the public on matters pertaining to reproductive and pediatric environmental health. The project will foster partnerships with numerous national organizations to promote access to experts in medical toxicology, pediatrics, and reproductive health.

Dr. Paul Wax, Executive Director of the ACMT, says, “This new award provides a wonderful opportunity for medical toxicologists from around the country to significantly contribute to the delivery of reproductive and pediatric environmental health educational and consultative services and to team up with pediatric and reproductive health specialists to ensure that the highest level of expertise will be available to primary care providers and the public.”

About The American College of Medical Toxicology
ACMT is a professional, non-profit association of physicians with recognized expertise in medical toxicology. The ACMT mission is to advance quality care of poisoned patients and public health through physicians who specialize in consultative, emergency, environmental, forensic, and occupational toxicology. For more information, visit http://www.acmt.net, or follow on Twitter @acmt.

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