Language Preferences among Callers to a Regional Poison Center

Greene Shepherd, Gregory L. Larkin, Larissa I. Velez, Les Huddleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Providing service to non-English speaking populations is a common challenge facing Poison Centers (PC). Previous studies have identified that people who do not speak functional English are unlikely to call a PC. We developed a survey to determine the language preferences of poison center callers and to identify if we were failing to offer services in languages other than English to callers who felt they needed them. We surveyed 322 parents during routine callbacks about language spoken at home, first and second languages, country of birth, and satisfaction with language used by the PC. We found that 93% primarily spoke English, 5% spoke English and Spanish, and 5% spoke other languages at home in a region where approximately 10% of the population speak English poorly. The majority of respondents were born in the US and were comfortable using English when using the PC. There were 6 cases where callers would have preferred using a different language. Our study supports data suggesting that poison centers are underutilized by people that are recent immigrants and speak English poorly. Awareness programs and educational efforts should be directed toward this sub-population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-101
Number of pages2
JournalVeterinary and Human Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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