June 7, 2018
Dr. Virginia Apgar’s 109th Birthday
Dr. Virginia Apgar came into this world on June 7, 1909. 109 years later, her presence can still be felt in delivery rooms across the globe. That’s because she invented the Apgar score, the first standardized method for assessing a newborn’s health. It looks at 5 factors, which doctors remember by spelling out her last name: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. Apgar first came up with this scoring system in 1952, and it has been used in nearly every hospital birth since.
Before Apgar’s life-saving invention, she already had a number of impressive accolades under her belt. She was the first woman to become a full professor at her alma mater, the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and was the director of the school’s department of anesthesiology. After Apgar left Columbia in the late 1950s, she devoted the rest of her years to the prevention of birth defects as a director at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now the March of Dimes).
Today, on what would’ve been her 109th birthday, we celebrate a woman whose incredible life’s work continues to touch – and sometimes save – brand new lives every day.