With great sadness, we share the recent passing of our longtime friend, colleague, medical luminary, and public health partner, Dr. Stephen Arnon, Chief of the Infant Botulism Treatment and Prevention Program (IBTPP) at the California Department of Public Health, on August 17, 2022. Dr. Arnon will be remembered professionally for his landmark contributions to researching, diagnosing, and discovering an effective treatment for infant botulism. For more than 20 years, Heluna Health has had the great privilege of supporting Dr. Arnon’s work in helping to license, manufacture, and disseminate ‘BabyBIG’ (Botulism Immune Globulin Intravenous, or BIG-IV, the world’s first and only licensed human botulism immune globulin), so that it became more readily available to those families that have desperately needed this lifesaving medication. “I have had the privilege of working with Dr. A for more than ten years,” shares Natalie Still, Senior Contract and Grants Manager and longtime liaison with IBTPP. “Many of my days started or ended with a conversation with him–so much so that he became a part of my daily routine. I truly miss him and our partnership. It was collegial, interesting, and was appreciated far more than I think he knew.”
We are additionally proud that our collaboration with Steve blossomed into a co-hosted annual conference with the Interagency Botulism Research Coordinating Committee (IBRCC), launched in 2014, to facilitate the exchange of botulism-related research amongst industry stakeholders.
All in the Heluna community who directly partnered with Dr. Arnon were consistently moved by his vision, his deep compassion for the families impacted by his work, and his unwavering dedication to innovating new ways to improve and prevent infant botulism and related illnesses.