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Racial and Ethnic Differences in Poison Center Utilization

Spain, Gregory (2011)
Master's Thesis (50 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Caudle, William Michael
Committee Members: Kazzi, Ziad N ; Tolbert, Paige
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Medicine and Surgery; Health Sciences, Public Health; Health Sciences, Toxicology
Partnering Agencies: Community-based non-profit organization (e.g., AID Atlanta)
Keywords: Poison; Race; Ethnicity; Toxin; Toxicology; Minority
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Environmental Health (Global Environmental Health)
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Past research has shown that poison centers can significantly impact both health outcomes and health care costs when they are involved in the care of a suspected poisoning victim. The centers are able to help effectively manage a large number of suspected poisoning cases in the home, as well as to more rapidly and appropriately treat those with toxic exposures that do need the aid of a medical provider. Past research has also shown that there may be underutilization of poison center services by racial and ethnic minorities, who may be at increased risk for poisonings and complications of poisoning due to sociodemographic and genetic factors. To date though, there has been no direct measure of minority poison center utilization as racial and ethnic information is not typically gathered. This study is the first known effort to directly measure minority utilization. Over a six month period a convenience sample of callers contacting the Georgia Poison Center were asked about the racial and ethnic background of the suspected poisoning victim. These data were then compared against U.S. Census data to estimate relative utilization of poison center services. The study data support the hypothesis that racial minorities contact the poison center at a lesser rate than would be expected based on local demographics. Hispanics, the lone ethnic minority evaluated, were not shown to be underutilizing services though when compared to non-Hispanics. Comparisons were also made between groups concerning demographics and the spectrum of toxins implicated. Gender, age and poisoning intent classification were generally concordant between the groups. Overall there was also great similarity in the implicated toxin categories, with a few specific areas of deviation which may be of interest for future study. The study was limited by the non random nature of the sample data gathered. In comparing the demographics and substance spectrum of the study sample with that of the overall Georgia Poison Center population, as well as national poison statistics, it was shown that the sample may be fairly representative, and thus this pilot study provides a solid argument for continuing to explore this area of research.

Table of Contents

-- Introduction -- -- p-1 -- -- Methods -- -- p-17 -- -- Results -- -- p-21 -- -- Discussion -- -- p-23 -- -- References -- -- p-31 -- -- Tables and Figures -- -- Table 1 - U.S Racial/Ethnic Breakdown -- -- p-34 -- -- Table 2 - Ga & Study Racial/Ethnic Breakdown -- -- p-35 -- -- Table 3 - Standard GPC Data Set -- -- p-36 -- -- Table 4 - Data set demographics -- -- p-37 -- -- Figure 1 - Gender Distribution -- -- p-38 -- -- Figure 2 - Age Distribution -- -- p-39 -- -- Figure 3 - Toxin Spectrum - Data Set Comparison -- -- p-40 -- -- Table 5 - Racial/Ethnic Demographics -- -- p-41 -- -- Figure 4 - Age distribution - Racial/Ethnic Comparison -- -- p-42 -- -- Figure 5 - Toxin Spectrum - Racial Comparison -- -- p-43 -- -- Figure 6 - Toxin Spectrum - Ethnic comparison -- -- p-44 --


application/pdf Dissertation/Thesis 50 pages (786.1 KB) [Access copy of Dissertation/Thesis]
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