Toxicology Fellowship Program

About the Toxicology Fellowship Program

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 750,000 people in the United States have died since 1999 from a drug overdose[1]. Surveillance of opioid-related morbidity and mortality are important components of opioid overdose prevention efforts. The complex and changing nature of the drug overdose epidemic highlights the need for an interdisciplinary public health approach, which includes toxicology surveillance.

Our Work

To help build the capacity of the public health workforce to engage in enhanced surveillance, NNPHI collaborated with the CDC to recruit, interview, select, and train two Toxicology Fellows to work within CDC’s Division of Overdose Prevention. The Toxicology Fellow works with CDC’s Overdose Mortality Team with the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) where she monitors emerging substances, assists in the development of toxicological testing guidance documents, refines the way toxicology data is captured in SUDORS, and disseminates data to inform prevention activities and build capacity to collect timely and comprehensive fatal opioid overdose reporting.

The Toxicology Data Fellow works with CDC’s Overdose Morbidity Team to monitor emerging substances, assist in building case definitions for data coming from toxicology or poison systems, and aid in the analysis and dissemination of these data to inform prevention activities and build capacity to collect timely and comprehensive nonfatal overdoses. The Data Fellow primarily works with the Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC)’s Core Registry in partnership with the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT).

Our Impact

The Toxicology Fellow is helping refine the catalog of substances in SUDORS, adding new substances as well. She has learned how to use EpiInfo and will be helping administer a toxicology needs assessment of medical examiners’ and coroners’ current procedures. Jurisdictions’ responses will help inform CDC’s efforts to support toxicology testing of suspected overdose deaths. The Toxicology Data Fellow monitors emerging substances and analyzes data based on the CDC Overdose Morbidity Team’s needs as well as leads the development of professional papers currently undergoing final revisions for submission for peer reviewed publications. Fellows participate and present at national conferences, attend trainings, and contribute to MMWR and other publications.

Resources

MMWR December 2021: Trends in and Characteristics of Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyls – United States, 2019-2020

MMWR September 2021: Notes from the Field: Xylazine Detection and Involvement in Drug Overdose Deaths – United States, 2019

Learn more about SUDORS here.

Learn more about ToxIC here.

Biographies of NNPHI’s Toxicology Fellow and other team members are available on the NNPHI website: https://nnphi.org/about-nnphi/nnphi-team/.

Contact Us

NNPHI and its member institutes offer options for agencies and organizations needing workforce solutions, recruiting and hiring experts needed for rapidly scaling initiatives.  For more information on NNPHI’s administrative partner services, please contact us at funding@nnphi.org.

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html

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