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Residency

1930s-1940s
Dr. Arena encourages his residents to create reference files for a "look-up" reference list. Arena's reputation in this area grows, and pediatricians call for advice when emergency situations of poison ingestion occur

1950s
Drs. Arena and Jerry Harris, both of the Department of Pediatrics, develop a 24-hour call system for the second-year residents to handle the so-called "poison phone calls" which Dr. Arena's interests were generating

1950s
Drs. Shirley Osterhout and Madison Spach have residencies with Jay Arena.

1954
Dr. Wilburt Davison resigns as chair of the Department of Pediatrics to concentrate more completely on his duties as dean of Duke Medical School. Dr. Jerome Harris assumes the position of department chair and continues until 1969.


Dr. Madison Spach was a resident under Dr. Arena.
Photo ca. 1960.

Read a transcript of Dr. Spach's 1996 memorial speech for Dr. Arena, given at an alumni meeting

"The age group most frequently involved [with poisoning accidents] is under five...."
--Dr. Arena in Dangers to Children and Youth

Each year, pediatrician Dr. Jay Arena selected one resident in the Duke Department of Pediatrics to work with him. This resident would help him organize index cards documenting cases of poisonings and the causes of those poisonings as well as information about consumer products and their potential toxicity.

As the Poison Control Center (not named such until 1954) received more and more phone calls to access its growing body of information, Dr. Arena and Dr. Jerome Harris developed a system by which persons with poison-related problems could call in and speak to a resident twenty-four hours a day. The call would come in to the hospital's main line. There the main operator would take the call, signal the paging operator, who would indicate for the resident on call to pick up the phone by announcing, "1-1-4, Poison Control." The resident would then pick up the phone, answer the caller's question by referring to the index cards on file, and would instruct the caller in how to handle the problem. Eventually, beepers and computers would simplify this system.

In 1984, the Duke Poison Control Center was certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. One of the standards in order to be certified was that a center must be staffed only by poison control experts. Thus the residents' participation in the Poison Control Center ended.

1930-1958
In 1930, when the Duke Medical School opens, the Department of Pediatrics consists of one junior resident, one senior resident and one part-time staff member. In 1958, when Dr. Osterhout is an assistant resident, there are two senior and eight junior residents in the department, and there are thirty-four staff members.

One of Dr. Arena's residents, Dr. Shirley Osterhout, ultimately became clinical director of Duke's Poison Control Center. Here she speaks about the poison control residency under her leadership.

1972
The roles once played by pediatric residents are now filled by poison information specialists during certain hours at the PCC.

1984
Duke center officially certified as a poison control center by American Association of Poison Control Centers. One requirement is that poison specialists staff the center 24 hrs. a day, thus ending the resident's involvement in the Duke Poison Control Center.

Arena & LyeSafety CapsResidencyCreation of PCCDr. Osterhout & Daily LifeAdvocacy, Education
& Outreach
BibliographyHome

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