About Tennessee Poison Center


The Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) was established in 1988 as a program of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Prior to 2004, the Tennessee Poison Center served 57 Tennessee counties in middle, upper east and southeast Tennessee. As of February 1, 2004, the Tennessee Poison Center is the only poison control center in Tennessee and serves more than 6.8 residents in 95 counties.

Poisoning is a much larger health problem than has generally been recognized, and it continues across the entire lifespan. In Tennessee, poisoning is the #1 leading cause of injury death for all residents, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.

Cases of unintentional drug overdose and suicide attempts are more likely to occur in adolescents and young adults, and the elderly are at risk for poisoning due to situations such as mixing medications or accidentally taking the wrong dosage. In addition, new concerns about biological and chemical threats have elevated poisoning to a national security issue of public health importance.

Physicians, hospitals, public health departments, and the public depend on the Tennessee Poison Center to provide state-of-the-art emergency advice and treatment information 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The Tennessee Poison Center is the statewide poison control center designated by the Tennessee Department of Health. Additionally, it is nationally accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

Our staff consists of two board-certified medical toxicologists, 11 poison specialists, and two administrative positions. In addition, the Tennessee Poison Center has an active Community Board that advises TPC on poison related issues.  

The Tennessee Poison Center receives funding from these sources:

  • Government grants (state and federal)
  • Institutional funding from Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Donations from Tennessee hospitals
  • Community funding from 13 United Way agencies
  • Private foundations and public philanthropy

The Tennessee Poison Center measures our success by the number of poison victims it serves; the healthcare costs it averts, and the peace of mind it delivers to more than 6.8 million Tennessee residents.