WESTFIELD, NJ — Google has dedicated its Doodle Thursday to Westfield native Dr. Virginia Apgar on what would have been her 109th birthday. To see it, go to www.Google.com.
Dr. Apgar was noted for developing the Apgar Score in 1949 to evaluate a baby's condition immediately after birth. This development led Apgar to be regarded as the founder of the medical specialty of neonatology.
Apgar, who was born in Westfield in 1909 and died in 1974, was an obstetrical anesthesiologist who developed the five-point assessment designed to evaluate a baby’s vital signs right after birth. The Apgar test, still in use today, scores a newborn on its skin color, pulse, reflex, muscle tone and respiration.
Apgar graduated fourth in her class at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933. She became the first woman named a full professor at the university in 1949.
She also worked for the March of Dimes to promote immunizations and to remove the stigma of birth defects through education. Apgar is a 2009 inductee into the Westfield Historical Society Hall of Fame. Her father, Charles Apgar, an amateur radio operator who was known for making the earliest surviving recordings of a radio signal, was inducted in 2010.