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SOON AFTER Elin Gursky, ScD, moved to New Jersey, a chemical plant explosion in the northern town of Lodi killed 5 people and sent many more to surrounding emergency departments. But the physicians in those departments had "no idea what chemicals had been on site, what they should be treating, and how they should be treating patients," she recalled.
Gursky, a senior assistant commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services in Trenton, said the agency's occupational and environmental health database contains a lot of information that could help medical professionals determine the chemicals involved. But because there hasn't been an effective means of disseminating the information, it would be of little value during a crisis.
Now, Gursky is working to open the lines of communication. By the end of this year, the New Jersey Local Information Network Communication System (LINCS) will allow the state health department
Voelker R. Medicine and Public Health Join Forces. JAMA. 1997;277(20):1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540440013004