The Massachusetts Poison Control System (MPCS) conducted professional education conferences in 4 areas of its region as outreach to 31 targeted hospitals which have greater than 60 poisoned inpatients/year and consult with MPCS on less than 36% of Emergency Department (ED) patients. A hospital survey had indicated that area conferences were preferred to regionwide symposia. Preconference planning meetings with area ED MD's and RN's identified patient management issues to cover. Besides lectures, conferences included interactive sessions such as toxathons, skill stations, case presentations, panel discussions. The conferences reached 190 people from 38 acute care hospitals including 88% of targeted hospitals and the MD or RN in charge of the ED or greater than or equal to 2 staff members from 62% of targeted hospitals. Participants (74%) increased their knowledge by 53% based on a pre/post test and gave the conferences a 4.4 rating for improved knowledge gain (1 = no, 5 = much new knowledge). They rated skill stations 1st, toxathons 2nd, case presentations 3rd and lectures as a whole 4th in the amount of knowledge gained. Calls from targeted hospitals to MPCS increased but not significantly. Area education conferences with interactive formats effectively reach and educate hospital staff.