Dr. Virginia Apgar, whose "Apgar score" allows doctors and nurses in the delivery room to make a quick and simple assessment of a newborn baby's general condition, is honored on a stamp in the Great Americans series. Apgar's system aids delivery room staff in identifying those infants who need immediate medical attention.
Dr. Apgar was the first woman selected for a full professorship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She aspired to be a surgeon, then moved into the then relatively new field of anesthesiology, conducting research on the effects of obstetric anesthesia on newborn babies. She continued her contributions to medicine by serving the March of Dimes, where she directed research in the causes, prevention, and treatment of birth defects.
The perinatal section of the American Academy of Pediatrics named its annual award for her. The Apgar Award is given annually to the person who has done the most to improve medical care for newborn babies and their mothers. In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Apgar was known for her sense of humor and compassion. Her other interests included chamber music and stamp collecting.