Multiple federal agencies have identified an emergent emergency medicine challenge: In an emergency situation, is the presenting patient suffering from an opioid overdose or from chemical poisoning, such as a chemical nerve agent? This key differential diagnosis carries with it important decisions related to the deployment of protective measures for both the healthcare community and the public health at large. To an untrained eye, the signs of opioid and nerve agent poisoning may appear similar, but the health risks to the patient and responder are different.  There are law enforcement considerations as well.


This  webinar will describe the key differences between these two types of chemical exposures, the steps that must be taken to prevent secondary exposures to others, and the associated public health and law enforcement notifications. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM CDT
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This is an online event.



Pamela D. Phillips
Program Coordinator
UTHealth School of Public Health
Prevention, Preparedness and Response (P2R) Academy

Learning Objectives

By the end of this hour-long webinar, participants will be able to:

  • List the key differences in the signs and symptoms of opioid poisoning and nerve agent poisoning;

  • Choose the appropriate personal protective equipment;

  • Describe the initial decontamination and treatment steps; and

  • Describe the appropriate public health and law enforcement notifications.


About the Speakers

Robert Emery, DrPH, CHP, CIH, CBSP, CSP, CHMM, CPP, ARM 

Dr. Robert Emery is Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Professor of Occupational Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. 

Bob is unique in that he possesses national board certification and registration in all of the main areas of health & safety; health physics [Certified Health Physicist, CHP], industrial hygiene [Certified Industrial Hygienist, CIH], biological safety [Certified Biological Safety Professional, CBSP], occupational safety [Certified Safety Professional, CSP], hazardous materials management [Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, CHMM], security [Certified Protection Professional, CPP],  and risk management [Associate in Risk Management, ARM].   

Bob is the author of over 70 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reports on practical health and safety topics and makes frequent presentations on such issues at the local, national, and international.

Janelle Rios, PhD, MPH Dr. Rios serves The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health as a Faculty Associate in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences.  

She is also the director of the Office of Public Health Practice, the contact principal investigator for the Texas-Utah Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training (Texas-Utah Consortium), and the lead consortium investigator for the Biosafety and Infectious Disease Training Initiative (BIDTI) UTHealth’s arm serving public health region 6.  

With a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in public health management and policy science, Dr. Rios has over ten years of environmental health experience in a regulatory setting and over seven years of experience directing, developing and evaluating training projects at UTHealth.

Scott Patlovich, MPH, DrPH, CBSPH, CHMM
Director of Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management 
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Dr. Patlovich serves as a subject matter expert, co-investigator, and instructor for BIDTI and as a subject matter expert and instructor for the Texas-Utah Consortium. 

Dr. Patlovich holds a doctorate of public health in occupational and environmental health sciences (concentration in epidemiology and disease control) from UTHealth School of Public Health and a master of public health in occupational and environmental health sciences (concentration in industrial hygiene) from the same school.

He is a certified biological safety professional, as recognized by the American Biological Safety Association; a specialist microbiologist in biological safety microbiology, as recognized by the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists; and a certified hazardous materials manager, as recognized by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.

Richard Bradley, MD, FACEP 
Chief of the Division of Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, which includes a fellowship in Emergency Medical Services.  

Before this assignment, he accumulated seven years of experience as Medical Director or Chief of Service at two major hospital Emergency Centers in Houston. 

Dr. Bradley is a 1990 graduate of Santa Clara University.  He completed his medical training at Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1994.  Before graduating from college, Dr. Bradley accumulated ten years’ experience as a firefighter, paramedic, and 9-1-1 dispatcher.  

Since graduating from medical school, he has completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at the Stanford-Kaiser Combined Emergency Medicine Program and a Fellowship in Emergency Medical Services with the Houston Fire Department.