Inventors are inspirational. Virginia Apgar was an inventor, doctor, medical professional, obstetrical anesthesiologist, educator, writer, and philanthropist. She is remembered as the inventor of the Apgar score. The Apgar score is the quick test newborns are repeatedly given after birth.
Virginia Apgar was born on June 7, 1909 in Westfield, New Jersey. After graduating from high school, she attended Mount Holyoke College. She studied zoology with minors in physiology and chemistry. After graduating in 1929, she attended an graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (CUCPS) in 1933. She completed her residency in surgery from CUCPS in 1937. She, also, trained in anesthesia and gained her certification in 1937. She became the director of anesthesia at CUCPS in 1938.
She became the first female full professor at CUCPS in 1949. She also did clinical and research work at Sloane Hospital for Women. In 1953, she introduced the Apgar score. In 1959, she left CUCPS and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She, also, then became vice president for Medical Affairs of the March of Dimes. She directed research to prevent and treat birth defects. She wrote and lectured about these topics. In 1967, she became vice president of basic research at The National Foundation-March of Dimes. Apgar promoted use of Rh testing during the rubella pandemic of 1964-65. She lectured about early detection of birth defects and the need for research. She served the National Foundation as Director of Basic Medical Research and the Vice-President for Medical Affairs. She continued to write and lecture and was a clinical professor of pediatrics at Cornell University School of Medicine from 1971 until 1974. In 1973, she became a lecturer in medical genetics at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Virginia Apgar received many awards, including multiple honorary doctorates. She spoke out about at-the-time taboo topics, such as teen pregnancies and congenital disorders. She was not part of the women’s movement, however spoke at March of Dimes Youth Conferences. Virginia Apgar never married and died in 1974 at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. She had been a member of multiple organizations, had many hobbies, and was very active. She has continued to receive posthumous awards and recognition. Be inspired! Have a bright day!