She was appointed the first woman Professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1949, according to a biography of the clinician at the Columbia University website.
Through her work she noticed that between the 1930s and 1950s, while the infant mortality rate in the United States was decreasing, the number of infants who lost their lives in the first 24 hours after their birth remained stable.
Dr Virginia Apgar is credited for the invention of a method called as Apgar score that helps in quickly summarising the health a newborn child. Apgar had an illustrious career, one that she used to bring down death rate for newborns.
"Apgar Score is a quick test performed on a baby at 1 and 5 minutes after birth". Countries across the world were quick to adopt the test and the Apgar Score is being used even today by obstetricians.
In her honour, Google is changing its logo in 15 countries to a doodle, or illustration, of her and the Apgar score. In 1952, she finally presented the Apgar Score system.
Dr. Virginia Apgar was born 109 years ago today on June 7, 1909 in Westfield, New Jersey - just about an hour drive from where I am writing this. The score assesses five key health metrics: heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. Virginia graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and from the Colombia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933. The test is done within one to five minutes of a child's birth and may be repeated if the scores are low. As attending anesthesiologist at Presbyterian Hospital, she assisted in the delivery of close to 20,000 babies. She also directed the congenital defects division at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, now the March of Dimes Foundation.
"Compiled scores for each newborn can range between 0 and 10, with 10 being the best possible condition for a newborn".
In 1972, she co-wrote a book - "Is My Baby All Right?" - which was a guidebook for a woman to give birth to a healthy baby without any common birth defects.
Apger won man many awards for her contribution in the fields of medicine and science and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, in NY in 1995.
She never married and died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 7, 1974.