Interview with Dr. Michael Greenberg

Transcription from Interview:

Dr. Grundmann: 00:04 Welcome. My name is Doctor Oliver Grundmann. I am the program director and faculty advisor for the graduate certificate and Master of Science programs in clinical toxicology at the University of Florida. The programs have currently over 100 professionals enrolled and have graduated more than 150 Master’s students since starting in 2009. I’m pleased to introduce Doctor Michael Greenberg, who connects with us from Philadelphia. Doctor Greenberg, you were instrumental in the initiation and development of the clinical toxicology programs at the University of Florida. Would you mind introducing yourself and what inspired you to start his initiative?

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 00:51 Thank you, Oliver. My name is Doctor Michael Greenberg. As I experienced firsthand the capabilities and high standards of online and distance education at University of Florida, combined with the rising need for education in clinical toxicology by healthcare professionals working in emergency departments, critical care settings, poison control centers or even in general practice. I sat down with Doctor Ian Tebbett and offered to provide my expertise in getting a graduate program in clinical toxicology off the ground that is tailored for a wide audience while providing focused information for healthcare providers.

Dr. Grundmann: 01:30 Doctor Ian Tebbett, associate dean at the College of Pharmacy at UF, is a leader in distance education and is certainly always interested in elevating our standards and inspiring faculty and students alike. When you mention healthcare providers, I have seen a very diverse audience of professionals in the clinical toxicology courses. Who do you think will benefit from the graduate certificate and, or the Master’s program?

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 01:57 Oliver, my background as a physician and years of experience working in the emergency medicine setting certainly impacted the content of the course. However, the courses are very much patient-centered, and as such, are attractive for all healthcare providers who are involved in either direct patient care or triage from first responders, nurses, physicians and pharmacists to researchers and scientists. Consider courses that cover more of the theory of the mechanism of toxicity for toxicants that can provide insights for researchers to better communicate with their colleagues on the patient care end.

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 02:36 Lastly, a wide array of professionals are associated with the field of clinical toxicology in our workplace, and may find learning about it useful to their careers.

Dr. Grundmann: 02:48 Now, it is no secret that the University of Florida is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the US, and the College of Pharmacy is nationally ranked number nine among all colleges of pharmacy. So the education anybody gets from us is solid. Given the competitive nature of the healthcare field, what do you see as the top three benefits of earning a graduate certificate or Master of Science in clinical toxicology from UF?

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 03:21 Oliver, certainly the reputation of the institution and its faculty matters, and University of Florida is top-notch. Aside from relatively short residencies for physicians and pharmacists, there are no formal programs available to other healthcare providers to receive the theory that goes along with the practice they learn on the job. Complimenting their training and patient care as they enter emergency department or critical care environment with a certificate or Master’s Degree in clinical toxicology will advance and cement their standing among peers and formalize their education.

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 03:57 Many of my younger colleagues seek out a more formal path to supplement their day-to-day experience in the emergency department or hospital environment, and that was just one of the critical inspirations for this program.

Dr. Grundmann: 04:10 Certainly the interactions we have seen in courses between various healthcare providers has been invaluable. Physicians learn from pharmacists, nurses from first responders. It is a very interactive and interdisciplinary setting.

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 04:27 Exactly. It is not a one-way isolated study environment, but rather an immersive true-to-life interaction with peers. The benefits therefore emerge during and after the studies as what you put into the courses will be revor … rewarded in your daily practice. For many, another benefit of the program is its case-based nature for the course content that focuses on patients and illustrates clinically realistic scenarios. The “what if” becomes concrete and approachable. It can be resolved in a safe space. Some of the virtual patient cases are frequent occurrences and prepare students for real-life encounters.

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 05:08 And then there’s the potential for pay raise or promotion because of the additional education and specialization that may distinguish one from the pack. While preparing for ABT or a CNT certification is a benefit of completion of the Master’s program, the degree by itself is a more formal achievement, especially for professionals without a prior professional healthcare degree, such as medicine, pharmacy or nursing.

Dr. Grundmann: 05:39 The clinical toxicology program has been evolving over the years, and this may be of interest to past, current and future students alike. Just this year, two new courses will be offered. The first is an occupational toxicology and the other on the toxicology of licit and illicit drugs of abuse. How do you view these developments and what else do you see coming in the future for the program?

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 06:08 I’m excited about the program. The fact that it’s branching out into the oc-occupational toxicology area is definitely a plus. This field has long been a passion of mine and it’s growing fast in the United States. It’s my belief that the new occupational toxicology course will lay the foundation for a new certificate focused on occupational toxicology with a potential to even lead to a Master’s Degree. Both occupational and environmental toxicology have gained attention by the public and the scientific community, so it’s important that we have … as healthcare providers, remain informed and stay up-to-date on this topic. I anticipate a higher demand for well-trained professionals in this area over the years. The elective on the toxicology of illicit and, uh, and licit drugs of abuse is much needed given the escalating reports of opioid misuse and abuse with associated overdoses across the nation and worldwide.

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 07:06 This appears to go hand-in-hand with other drugs and it’s requiring a more vigilant and interventional approach from first responders and the entire healthcare team.

Dr. Grundmann: 07:16 As a leader in the field of clinical toxicology and former president of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, what is your vision for the field of clinical toxicology in the next 10 years? What will be some major challenges and breakthroughs.

Dr. Michael Greenberg: 07:36 That’s a great question, Oliver. My, my thoughts and my vision for the field of clinical toxicology really depend on the numbers of individuals entering the field. The more people who come into it, the more the field will become professionalized and the greater the demand will, will grow from that. I think that the field of clinical toxicology is complicated. It involves many subsets. Occupational toxicology, addictionology, environmental toxicology, reproductive toxicology. So over the years, these areas will become more fleshed out by professionals who take the path of learning about clinical toxicology, and hopefully many of our students from University of Florida will fill in that need.

Dr. Grundmann: 08:21 Thank you, Doctor Greenberg for taking the time to be with us today.