Duke Flags Lowered: Dr. Shirley Osterhout Dies

Gifted pediatrician and child safety pioneer Dr. Shirley Kirkman Osterhout, passed away on Sept. 23. Dr. Osterhout graduated from Duke University in 1953 and received her medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1957, where she was one of five women graduates.

She joined Duke as house staff in the Department of Pediatrics and later became an instructor and assistant professor. Dr. Osterhout also served as clinical director and medical director of the Duke Poison Control Center. Her work with Duke pediatricians Dr. Jay Arena and Dr. Susan Dees inspired her life's career in pediatrics and child safety. Under the leadership of Drs. Arena and Osterhout, the center received international recognition for its leadership and development of the first childproof safety cap.

Dr. Osterhout was also the assistant dean for student affairs in the School of Medicine where she mentored and assisted medical students. In recognition of her outstanding teaching, Dr. Osterhout received the Golden Apple Award (Student AMA Award for Excellence in Teaching) in 1973.

She retired as professor emeritus from Duke University School of Medicine in 1997.