March is Women's History Month and We're Celebrating Women in Medicine!

Originally taken from The Huffington Post 2/28/2017 3:43 PM. Women in Health Slide Show 

Dr. Virginia Apgar M.D.

Dr. Virginia Apgar, M.D., (born in 1909, and died in 1974) is best known for developing a standardized system to evaluate the health of babies when they are born. The system, called the Apgar score, was developed in 1952 before the era of fetal monitors and involved looking at the infant's breathing, skin color, muscle tone, reflexes and pulse, according to the March of Dimes. Apgar was also the first woman to earn the title of full professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, in the year 1949. She was also director of the division of anesthesia at Columbia, and it was during her time there that she studied specifically obstetrical anesthesia, the National Institutes of Health reported. Ultimately, Apgar went on to become director of the division of congenital effects at what is now the March of Dimes. -- Amanda L. Chan




Today, close to half of medical school graduates are women -- but the first woman to earn an M.D. after her name was Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who achieved the milestone by graduating from New York's Geneva Medical College on Tuesday, January 23, 1849. Blackwell, who was born in England in 1821 and moved to the U.S. at age 11, also co-founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857 and authored important books addressing women and medicine, including "Medicine As A Profession For Women" in 1860, according to her NIH bioThe NIH writes: In her book Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, published in 1895, Dr. Blackwell wrote that she was initially repelled by the idea of studying medicine. She said she had "hated everything connected with the body, and could not bear the sight of a medical book... My favourite studies were history and metaphysics, and the very thought of dwelling on the physical structure of the body and its various ailments filled me with disgust." Instead she went into teaching, then considered more suitable for a woman. She claimed that she turned to medicine after a close friend who was dying suggested she would have been spared her worst suffering if her physician had been a woman. -- Laura Schocker