Saving Lives by Solving Toxicology
MaryAnn Howland, Pharm. D.
Clinical Professor, Clinical Pharmacy
As you enter the New York City Poison Control Center, located
across the street from Bellevue Hospital Center on Manhattan’s east
side, it’s easy to imagine yourself on the set of a crime-fighting
television show. For fifth-year Pharm. D. students, it’s the scene
for learning firsthand how vital toxicological pharmacy is.
Under the wing of MaryAnn Howland, an internationally recognized
toxicology expert and co-editor/author of a leading textbook on
toxicological emergencies, as well as an adjunct professor of
emergency medicine at the New York University School of Medicine,
students work in the Poison Control Center and in the Bellevue
Hospital emergency room.
As one of the largest centers in the country, the New York City
Poison Control Center fields some 250 telephone inquiries daily
from the general public and health care providers. St. John’s
students research answers to their questions and follow up with
In the ER, one of the busiest in the nation, students
participate in handling toxicology cases and also take part in
patient rounds, interviewing patients about their medications and
collaborating with medical teams in counseling patients and setting
up medication regimens. As a large public hospital, Bellevue
receives many traditionally underserved patients who arrive with
advanced stages of illness and require complex treatment.
”This experience teaches students that they can make a
difference,” states Professor Howland. “Many students tell me after
the rotation is complete, that they didn’t realize how
well-respected and important pharmacists are.”