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Spotlight Feature: Dr. Louise Kao

Spotlight Feature

Louise Kao, MD, FACMT
ACMT President (2021-2023)

Dr. Louise Kao became a member of ACMT in 2000, and her term as ACMT Board President runs from 2021-2023. She is currently Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology Fellowship Director at Indiana University School of Medicine. We are pleased to be able to get to know Dr. Kao a little better through this brief interview.

Q: What inspired you to specialize in medical toxicology?

LK: During medical school, I worked in the Illinois Poison Center as a Poison Information Specialist and found that I really enjoyed learning about and discussing poisonings. Local mentors such as Jerrold Leikin, Steve Aks, and Leon Gussow were inspiring to me as well. When interviewing for residency programs, I looked particularly at programs with toxicology experience and toxicologists on faculty.  At Indiana University, I found what I was looking for, ultimately training as a fellow under Brent Furbee, Mark Kirk, and Mary Wermuth and alongside Dan Rusyniak. It has been so enjoyable and fulfilling being a part of this program, educating learners, and training future toxicologists.

Q: What might we be surprised to know about you?

LK: As part of a women’s hiking group, I hiked up and down Mount LeConte in 2018 - believe it or not, we encountered my medical toxicology fellowship director Mark Kirk and his hiking group at the top!  With this same group, I hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon in 2019, staying at the Phantom Ranch in between. Our adventuring plans were put on pause in 2020 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) but we are hopeful for another trip in the next year.

Q: What toxic plant, animal, or substance do you find most fascinating and why? 

LK: I think absinthe is fascinating for its beauty, ritual, cultural history, and the artwork it has inspired.  The taste - not so much.

Learn more about Dr. Kao’s education, interests, and training on the ACMT Board of Directors page.