Feature Profile: Virginia Apgar
Dr. Virginia Apgar (P&S ‘33) was a pioneering clinician, researcher, and educator. After majoring in zoology at Mount Holyoke College, she entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, and graduated 4th in her class of 90. Two years into her surgery residency she was persuaded to switch to anesthesia by the Chair of Surgery, Dr. Alan Whipple - a reflection of the times. After training in anesthesia at the University of Wisconsin and Bellevue Hospital, she returned to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in 1938 as the first Director of the new Division of Anesthesia. Dr. Apgar dedicated herself to education and research in anesthesia and in 1949 she was appointed the first woman Professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Dr. Apgar’s focus on obstetric and pediatric anesthesia led her, in 1952, to develop the now ubiquitous Apgar Score.