One of the first medical tests every newborn receives is their APGAR score. The test, developed by Virginia Apgar (1909-1974), evaluates a newborns Activity (muscle tone), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflex irritability), Appearance (coloration of skin), and Respiration. This simple test allows delivery-room doctors and nurses to determine a newborn’s general condition.
Virginia was one of the first women to graduate from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia College. She began pioneering work in anesthesiology, working at several major hospitals across the country. She became a professor of anesthesiology at Columbia University - the first woman to hold full professorship at the university. Virginia was the first woman to receive the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia.