Female Creators of Modern Day Science
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we are grateful for having the space to honor so many incredible female physicians. The women we’ve chosen throughout this month have paved the way for other women in medicine. By no means is comprehensive of the multitude of female physicians who have and continue to shape the medical field. Today, we celebrate a group of female physicians who all created a name for themselves in modern-day science and medicine.
Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974)
Dr. Virginia Apgar’s most notable contribution to medicine, the “Apgar Score,” is used to measure newborn viability and reduces infant immortality rate. Dr. Apgar’s introduction to science began during her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College, where she declared zoology. Natural talent and interest made Dr. Apgar noticed by professors who encouraged her to seek out a degree in medicine, specifically in general surgery. Due to the depression and drop-in job opportunities, Dr. Apgar became an anesthesiologist. Obstetrical anesthesiology’s effect on unborn babies inspired the research that led to the creation of the Apgar Score. To refine her system, Apgar traveled across the country attending births and the defects she saw. Dr. Apgar’s energy set her up for public speaking which she did often, in addition to publishing numerous articles and even a book. She continued to perfect her system and oversee births until her death in 1974. To read more about Dr. Apgar’s and her talents aside from medicine, click here.
Dr. Audrey Evans (1925-Present)
Dr. Audrey Evans grew up in England and received a medical degree in Scotland before relocating to the United States in 1953. During her first years in America, she studied bone marrow transplants at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she found an interest in pediatric cancer. Dr. Evan’s focus was on neuroblastoma, for which she created Evan’s Staging System. This system helps determine if chemotherapy is beneficial to a patient. It had been responsible for keeping patients who would not benefit from chemotherapy, from experiencing horrible side effects. Despite her well recognized research in neuroblastomas, Dr. Evan’s is most associated with her creation of the Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Camp. Both of which provide families and cancer patients with a fun and safe place to stay during treatment. You can read more about Evan’s and her contributions to neuroblastoma here.
Dr. Antonia Novello (1944-Present)
Dr. Antonia Novello grew up in hospitals as a result of childhood sickness. She was determined to receive a medical degree and go on to treat kids like herself. Her focus on pediatrics led her to fill the position of position Deputy Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Eventually, Dr. Novello became the first female, Hispanic, Surgeon General of the United States. During this position, she helped to shutdown cigarette advertising geared towards children, educate the public about the upcoming issue with AIDS, and worked to approve vaccines for military personnel. To read more about her time as Surgeon General, click here.
At AMO, our goal is to create a more diverse medical field which includes, but is not limited to, female representation. AMO would love to hear your thoughts about Women’s History Month this March in conjunction with females in the medical field.
If you are interested in joining the U.S. medical field and creating a legacy like that of the women above, start your journey by applying for an AMO clinical rotation today!