Welcome to the
South Texas Poison Center

 

Photo Shawn M. Varney, MD
Medical Director
South Texas Poison Center
Associate Professor
Board Certified, Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology
Department of Emergency Medicine
UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Dr. Shawn M. Varney is a board certified Emergency Physician and Medical Toxicologist and has over 19 years of experience treating emergency patients. Currently he is faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and works clinically in the University Hospital emergency department. Dr. Varney completed his postgraduate training in medical toxicology at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, Colorado in 2009, and his emergency medicine training in the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wilford Hall Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, San Antonio, Texas in 2000.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Varney conducts research studies. One area of primary emphasis is the growing epidemic of prescription pain medication misuse. Other areas of interest include antidotes (particularly, intravenous lipid emulsion therapy for fat-soluble toxins), acute poisoning, overdose, acetaminophen toxicity, and snakebite. Along with his investigations Dr. Varney has obtained over $400,000 dollars in grant funding for research and has published more than 25 scientific manuscripts advancing the field of emergency medicine and medical toxicology.

Dr. Varney is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force with 25 years of active duty service in the Medical Corps. During his Air Force career, Dr. Varney served in many leadership positions, provided clinical services, and deployed three times, most recently to Afghanistan. He has traveled throughout the world teaching military and civilian providers about trauma and disaster medicine. Furthermore, Dr. Varney has journeyed internationally to active conflict areas and shared knowledge regarding preparation for chemical nerve agent contamination and weapons of mass destruction. As a medical expert in toxicology and poison control, Dr. Varney is also engaged in poisoning prevention education.

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Photo Lizette Villarreal, MA
Managing Director
South Texas Poison Center
Department of Surgery
UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Lizette Villarreal is responsible for the daily operation and management of the South Texas Poison Center as Assistant Director. Lizette holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Psychology from the University of the Incarnate Word, and a Master of Arts in Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Ms. Villarreal is currently working on her dissertation for her Doctorate of Philosophy in Applied Demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

As a member of the Department of Surgery faculty, her research areas of expertise include Hispanic unintentional injury, social and economic health disparities in minority communities, program evaluation, and health survey research. Lizette's previous research work has focused on the development and evaluation of school-based prevention programs in the areas of underage drinking and impaired driving, child passenger safety, safety belt use, injury prevention, and traffic safety. Mrs. Villarreal's research has been published in national peer reviewed journals, and her work is continuously highlighted at professional conferences around the nation.

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Photo Douglas Cobb, MS, RPh, CSPI
Specialist in Poison Information III
Operations Manager
South Texas Poison Center

Doug Cobb has been employed at the South Texas Poison Center since 1996. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Houston and a Master of Science degree in Pharmacy Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. As Operations Manager, Doug is responsible for call center data and technology operations. His broad level of expertise enables him to run extensive statistical analyses related to data which is generated by calls received at the poison center. Doug has published several articles in scientific toxicology journals and presented scientific posters at national toxicology forums.

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Photo Alfredo Gonzalez, RN, BSN, CSPI
Specialist in Poison Information II
South Texas Poison Center

Alfredo Gonzalez, RN, MSN earned his Bachelors degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio in 1984 and his Masters degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston in 2003. Alfredo has been employed with the South Texas Poison Center since 1995.

 

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Photo Ricardo A. Hernandez, MD, RN, CSPI-II
Specialist in Poison Information II
South Texas Poison Center

Dr. Ricardo Antonio Hernández Jr., has been employed at the University of Texas Health Science Center since December of 2003 working at the capacity of a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (CSPI) for the South Texas Poison Center. Dr. Hernández arrived to San Antonio from Harlingen, Texas along with his wife of 5 years Dr. Mari Liz Díaz Ocasio native of Puerto Rico.

His educational accomplishments include a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas- Pan American in Edinburg, Associate degree in Nursing from the University of Texas at Brownsville and a Doctoral degree in Medicine from the Universidad Iberoamericana, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

As a CSPI, Dr. Hernández's main responsibility is to answer calls that are suspected poisonings and determine if such exposures require medical attention. Another responsibility is constantly updating his colleagues on any newly FDA approved medications. His ability to effectively communicate in Medical English and Medical Spanish offers a unique advantage to the South Texas Poison Center making him one of the few designated to answer calls from Spanish speakers. Dr. Hernández has served as an author and a co-author in publishing various abstracts for scientific journals which have been presented in American and European Toxicological conferences.

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Photo Darelle Hinson, RN, BSN, CSPI
Specialist in Poison Information II
South Texas Poison Center

Darelle Hinson graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical, in Brooklyn, New York. Darelle's experience includes; medical surgical nursing, emergency room nursing, and nurse management. She has been employed at the South Texas Poison Center since 1998, as a Certified Specialist in Poison Information.

In addition to her expertise in poison information, Darelle is involved in the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program. The purpose of the program is surveillance and rapid detection of public health emergencies involving possible occupational, biological, and chemical exposures. Darelle recently co-authored an abstract in Clinical Toxicology entitled "Latrodectus Envenomation in Pregnancy, and Antidote Availability", which was presented at the 2007 North American Clinical Congress of Toxicology.

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Photo George Layton, MD, CSPI
Specialist in Poison Information II
South Texas Poison Center

Dr. George Layton has been with the South Texas Poison Center since 2004. George graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana School of Medicine, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2001.

In addition to managing poison center calls, he assists with the educational activities of rotating Pediatric and Emergency Medicine Residents as well as students pursuing their doctoral degree in pharmacy. He also assists with community health fairs and school presentations. His bilingual skills enable him to provide education to underserved areas in our community.

George and his colleagues have had several abstracts accepted and presented at the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology. He was asked to present at the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology on several occasions and is currently collaborating on various research projects. Dr. Layton was appointed Chair and Member of several Committees and Subcommittees aimed to enhance poison center activities.

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Photo Vivian Rivera, RN, BSN, CSPI
Specialist in Poison Information II
South Texas Poison Center

Vivian Rivera received her degree in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She has worked at the South Texas Poison Center as a Bilingual Certified Specialist in Poison Information, since 2002. As a result of a federal public health emergency preparedness grant, each poison center now has agents who are able to work from remote sites. Vivian is one of two specialists selected to work as a remote agent for the South Texas Poison Center. As a remote agent, Vivian is instrumental in optimizing poison center staffing in times of high volume calls or unforeseen poison center closures.

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Photo Cynthia Teter, PharmD, CSPI
Specialist in Poison Information II
South Texas Poison Center

Dr. Cynthia Teter received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Texas at Austin in conjunction with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She became interested in the field of toxicology after doing a clinical clerkship at the Poison Center, and has been employed at the South Texas Poison Center since 1999. Dr. Teter has written several articles that have been published in the Journal of Air Force Pharmacy and has co-written numerous abstracts that have been published in Clinical Toxicology and presented at international conventions. One of her abstracts entitled 'Blindness by Inhalation of Carburetor Cleaners Containing Methanol Among Latinos on the Texas US-Mexico Border', received recognition as the Best Scientific Abstract at the North American Clinical Congress of Toxicology in 2004. Dr. Teter has given presentations to forensic science students and currently serves as a preceptor for the UT Austin College of Pharmacy. She enjoys working in the unique field of toxicology and sharing her knowledge of pharmacy and toxicology with students who rotate through the Poison Center.

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Virginia Barrera-Garcia
Community Education Specialist
South Texas Poison Center

Photo Virginia is an Educator dedicated to assisting some 19 counties with poison prevention awareness programs, in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality due to poisoning. She coordinates presentations with public health and non-profit agencies, public and private schools and day care centers in both Spanish and English. Her monthly activity calendar is always fully booked with presentations, health fairs and trainings. When she's not teaching you can find her at her office taking care of duties as part of the Texas Poison Center Network Education Committee. Virginia has formalized in agreement to provide a training experience at the STPC Education Department for the UTHSCSA RAHC 3rd year medical students as part of a public health/community service experience during their clerkship.

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Araceli Dickson
Administrative Assistant-Senior
Photo South Texas Poison Center

Araceli is the newest addition at the South Texas Poison Center. She provides administrative support to poison center faculty and staff and is in charge of carrying out the daily administrative functions of the center. Ms. Dickson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Midwestern State University. Her extensive administrative experience and her ability to communicate in English and Spanish are an invaluable resource to the poison center.

 

 

 
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