Advertisement

The Rock of Gibraltar: The Value of Mentorship in the Early Years (Dr. Virginia Apgar and Dr. Ralph Waters)

Published:September 09, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janh.2019.08.005

      Highlights

      • Ralph Waters was an instrumental part of Virginia Apgar's success through his mentorship.
      • Apgar was successful despite barriers such as the great depression, World War II, and the novelty of being a woman in medicine.
      • Mentor and mentee bridged the gap in geography through regular correspondence, meetings, and exchange of trainees.

      Abstract

      Behind every successful physician there are mentors to light the path. Ralph Waters, founder of the anesthesiology residency at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was an instrumental part of Virginia Apgar's success; his support of her education and promotion of her professional endeavors proved to shape the medical powerhouse that Apgar would become. In this article, we learn about the professional and personal relationship between Waters and Apgar through personal correspondence from the Ralph Waters Collection at University of Wisconsin Archives, scientific publications, and meeting records. Through his support of her career, she was able to achieve success despite the Great Depression, World War II, and the novelty of being a woman in medicine. In her career, Apgar became the first female full professor at Columbia University, designed and implemented the Apgar score, and led the Division of Congenital Malformations at the March of Dimes among many other accomplishments. Though they lived half of a country apart in Wisconsin and in New York, the mentor and mentee bridged the gap in geography through regular correspondence, American Society of Anesthetists (now American Society of Anesthesiologists) meetings (where Waters served as president and Apgar as treasurer), and exchange of trainees between the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Columbia University. Apgar revealed herself to be a persistent, hardworking, intelligent, and passionate academic physician – the perfect pupil for Waters. This article's aim is to underscore the importance of mentorship – with equal commitment to the relationship from mentor and mentee – then and now.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Anesthesia History
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Strickland R.A.
        Ralph Waters and his Kansas City practice: 1924-1927.
        Bull Anes Hist. 2007; 25: 7-9
        • Bacon D.R.
        • Ament R.
        Ralph Waters and the beginnings of academic anesthesiology in the United States: The Wisconsin template.
        J Clin Anesth. 1995; 7: 534-543
        • Calmes S.H.
        Virginia Apgar: a woman physician's career in a developing specialty.
        J Am Med Womens Assoc. 1984; 39: 184-188
        • Shampo M.A.
        • Kyle R.A.
        Virginia Apgar-the Apgar score.
        Mayo Clin Proc. 1995; 70: 680
        • James L.S.
        Fond memories of Virginia Apgar.
        Pediatrics. 1975; 55: 1-4
        • Butterfield P.M.
        Foundations of pediatrics: Virginia Apgar (1909-1974).
        Adv Pediatr. 2012; 59: 1-7
        • Calmes S.H.
        Dr. Virginia Apgar and the Apgar score: how the Apgar score came to be.
        Anesth Analg. 2015; 120: 1060-1064
      1. Letter from Emery Rovenstine to Ralph Waters, March 26, 1936. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      2. Letter from Emery Rovenstine to Ralph Waters, April 8, 1936. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      3. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, April 20, 1936. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      4. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, April 21, 1936. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      5. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, April 27, 1936. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      6. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, October 29, 1936. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      7. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, July 26, 1937. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      8. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, October 4, 1938. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

        • Apgar V.
        Experience with pontocain spinal anesthesia.
        Curr Res Anes Anal. 1939; 18: 241-245
      9. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, Feb 9, 1943. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      10. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, October 4, 1938. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      11. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, October 27, 1940. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      12. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, October 23, 1943. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      13. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, October 15, 1948. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      14. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, February 20, 1938. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      15. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, March 5, 1938. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      16. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, October 18, 1941. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      17. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, October 27, 1941. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      18. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, October 28, 1941. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      19. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, September 15, 1942. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      20. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, September 18, 1942. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      21. Inflation Calculator.
        (Available at:)
        • Pearce J.M.
        Virginia Apgar (1909-1974): neurological evaluation of the newborn infant.
        Eur Neurol. 2005; 54: 132-134
      22. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, November 13, 1937. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

        • Calmes S.H.
        Women of the first academic department of anesthesiology.
        in: Diz J.C. Franco A. Bacon D.R. Rupreht J. Alvarez J. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on the History of Anesthesia, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Elsevier, New York2002: 263-267
      23. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, December 18, 1940. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      24. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, January 10, 1946. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      25. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, January 22, 1946. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      26. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, January 6, 1939. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      27. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, November 8, 1944. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      28. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, April 1946. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      29. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, February 24, 1948. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

        • Calmes S.H.
        Dr. Virginia Apgar: The effect of Dr. Ralph Waters on her career.
        in: Proceedings – The Ralph M. Waters International Symposium on Professionalism in Anesthesiology. Wood Library Museum of Anesthesiology, 2004
      30. Letter from Virginia Apgar to Ralph Waters, June 27, 1947. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.

      31. Letter from Ralph Waters to Virginia Apgar, Not dated. Collected Papers of RM Waters, M.D., University of Wisconsin Archives, Madison, WI.