Virginia Apgar and colleagues wrote “Evaluation of the Newborn Infant—Second Report” in 1958. This article explained that Apgar’s system for evaluating infants’ condition after birth accurately predicted the health of infants. Apgar had developed the scoring system in 1953 to provide a simple method for determining if an infant needed medical attention after birth. The research team, working at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, New York, studied the Apgar scores of over 15,000 infants from Sloane Hospital for Women in New York City, New York, over a period of five years. In “Evaluation of the Newborn Infant—Second Report,” Apgar and colleagues established that Apgar scores correlated with infants’ health directly after birth and indicated when medical personnel should treat the infant.

Virginia Apgar worked as an obstetrical anesthesiologist, administering drugs that reduce women’s pain during childbirth, in the US in the mid-twentieth century. In 1953, Apgar created a scoring system using five easily assessable measurements, including heart rate and breathing rate, to evaluate whether or not infants would benefit from medical attention immediately after birth. Apgar’s system showed that infants who were previously set aside as too sick to survive, despite low Apgar scores, could recover with immediate medical attention. Additionally, Apgar researched the effects of anesthesia used during childbirth and advocated for the prevention and management of birth defects. Apgar’s work led to a decrease in infant mortality rates in the mid-twentieth century, and into the twenty-first century, hospitals around the world still used the Apgar score at one and five minutes after birth.

In the late-twentieth century in the United States, Catherine DeAngelis was a pediatric physician, researcher, and editor of multiple medical journals. During her time with the Journal of the American Medical Association, DeAngelis became the journal’s first female editor. At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, she studied how physician-nurse interactions affected patient care, how immunizations and adolescent pregnancy affected children, and how medications affected men and women differently. She also worked to reduce gender inequality in the practice of medicine by publishing articles that addressed the pay gap between men and women at Johns Hopkins. Throughout her career, DeAngelis advocated for equality between men and women in the medical field and supported equal treatment of women as patients and as practitioners of medicine. By doing so, she helped women become more central participants in medicine and therefore helped increase the focus on women's health in medicine.

In the nineteenth century, Elizabeth Blackwell was a women’s healthcare reformer and the first woman to receive her medical degree in the United States. She practiced medicine as a primary care physician in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Blackwell graduated medical school from Geneva Medical College in Geneva, New York, where she was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US. Throughout her career, Blackwell focused on her patients’ rights to access healthcare and education pertaining to healthcare, particularly the rights of women and children, whom she treated in a hospital she cofounded. Blackwell influenced the medical care during the Civil War in the United States by training nurses to treat soldiers injured in battle. In her lifetime, Blackwell educated women on their health and careers as healthcare providers, and as the first woman to receive a medical degree, made it easier for other women to become physicians in the United States.

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