Jay Arena

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Item Description

  • Arena graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1932 as a member of the first graduating class. He made his career at Duke University as a pediatrician from 1933 to 1979. Arena also helped to develop the Duke Poison Control Center, which was established in 1953. Arena's interest in poison prevention was due in part to the influence of Dr. Wilburt C. Davison, School of Medicine dean. During the 1930s, the two men had treated children suffering from the unfortunately common and caustic effects of lye poisoning. They kept a reference file on other types of poisoning. The file eventually led to an inventory of treatments for poisoning and helped to develop the Duke Poison Control Center and more than 600 poison control centers across the United States. In the 1950s, Arena convinced a number of drug companies to begin using child-proof safety caps. A major success was in the safety closure for children's aspirin: he helped bring about a reduction in the strength of aspirin as well as in the number of tablets per bottle. As a result, the incidence of aspirin poisoning in children during the early 1980s was reduced from 25 percent to less than 5 percent of all poisoning cases.
Date created
  • per00003
Resource type
Holding entity
Archival collection
  • Photograph & Negative Collection
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