We wish to continue to attract students who want to be terrific physicians - the clinical training at Columbia is second to none given the case mix of the medical center across all sub-disciplines of anesthesiology.  However, in addition to clinical training, a major component of our role is to train physicians not only for private practice anesthesiology and pain management, but to be cutting edge master clinicians within the academic medical center. Quite simply, our goal is to attract medical students who know they want to remain in academic medicine - and to enter either clinical subspecialty or research fellowships following residency. To that end, in November 2002 we instituted the Virginia Apgar Scholars Program. Medical students commit to either a two year clinical or research fellowship program following residency. Apgar Scholars have the opportunity to enter our NIH T32 program. They become lifelong members of the Virginia Apgar Society, attend the annual Virginia Apgar Day/Dinner moderated by a successful physician-scientist, receive close faculty mentoring of their research and career development and receive a $15,000 annual supplement during their CA1, CA2, CA3, and fellowship years.










Apgar Day - April 2, 2014

Dr. Margaret Wood with some of the Apgar Scholars
at the Apgar Dinner at The Carlyle Hotel – New York



What is the Apgar Scholars Program?

The Apgar Scholars Program affords individuals with a goal of a career in academic medicine, the opportunity of selecting a residency with a flexible specialized educational program to pursue that goal. This education  is supplemental to the clinical training that occurs during residency and reflects the recognition that preparing for a career in academic medicine requires undertaking fellowship training in either or both an anesthesiology subspecialty and/or research training.  To successfully complete that training and most importantly, to successfully transition from a residency position to a faculty position requires a commitment on the part of both the trainee and the training department. The Apgar Scholars Program provides the opportunity to supplement residency training with training in the skills required for launching an academic career. Two Apgar Scholar positions will be offered through the NRMP match.

Why did we start the Apgar Scholars Program?

We recognized that the opportunity for training in the skills necessary for a successful academic career were often difficult for  Anesthesiology residents to obtain in light of their undergraduate, medical school and residency training clinical requirements.  This puts them at a disadvantage compared to other specialties, whose residents spends time in focused research training in addition to their didactic and clinical training.  We therefore developed the Apgar Scholars Program to provide the committed time and financial support to allow residents to receive the unique opportunity to become future academic leaders in Anesthesiology. Apgar Scholars become lifetime members of the “Apgar Society”.  In addition, being an Apgar Scholar allows networking opportunities with current and previous Apgar Scholars through the Apgar Society.

What kind of research can I do at Columbia?

The Department supports an expanded research horizon: basic science, clinical research, epidemiologic and population research, and health services delivery/policy research – so there is a breadth and depth to the kind of research that you can do at Columbia.

What will I do as an Apgar Scholar?

As an Apgar Scholar you will:

  • Work with an identified mentor either within the Department or outside the Department who will provide you with scientific leadership and advice to focus your research or subspecialty training goals
  • Obtain the training necessary to build a successful career in academic anesthesiology
  • Receive financial support for your research project
  • Spend an additional two years in research or subspecialty fellowship training following your residency.
  • Receive a salary supplement/award of $15,000 per year throughout your residency and fellowship training
  • Attend the annual departmental research retreat where ongoing research opportunities are presented
  • Attend the annual Apgar Society Day and Dinner (moderated by a successful physician-scientist)
  • Become a member of the Apgar Society—currently consisting of the 35 current and previous Apgar Scholars who since its inception in 2002 have preceded you in this program.  These previous Apgar Scholars are now reaching independence and academic maturity and provide a cohort of collegial peers to support your own career aspirations through advice, recognition, help and friendship.

Why should I apply to the Apgar Scholars Program?

  • To obtain the foundation for a career in academic anesthesiology
  • To obtain the protected time to develop and receive research training
  • To undertake appropriate course work and training in research
  • To commit to subspecialty and/or research fellowship training at the end of your residency

Has the program been successful?

The program has been extraordinarily successful with the majority of the graduates from the program in academic positions and most importantly pursuing their academic careers in prestigious medical schools.

Do I need to have prior research experience in college or medical school?

No.  Application to the Apgar Scholars research program does not require previous research experience but it does require evidence of an interest and commitment to development as an academic physician-scientist.  The Scholars program does not focus upon pre-existing accomplishments but creates a nurturing mentoring environment for those with a passion for future discovery.

Do I need to enter residency training with a specific research project in mind?

No.  In fact, we encourage entry to residency and the Apgar Scholars program with openness to new experiences, ideas, disciplines and mentors.  During the early residency years we encourage exploration; exploration about novel and important unanswered biomedical questions and exploration to identify mentor(s) appropriate to one’s area of interest.  The possibilities are vast with opportunities to pursue interests in basic science, clinical research, epidemiologic and population research, and health services delivery/policy research. Active career guidance by departmental leadership assists with identifying both areas of interest and the ‘best fit’ of disciplines and mentors with whom to pursue these interests.

How do I apply for an Apgar Scholarship? 
Through the NRMP. See next.

Understanding the NRMP Process

Our program offers 26 PGY-1 categorical positions. These 26 positions will be offered along two (2) different tracks; 24 positions will be regular Categorical positions following the traditional four-year anesthesiology curriculum (Program # 1495040C0),  and two (2) positions will be designated Apgar Scholar Research Categorical positions resulting in a six-year anesthesiology/academic career curriculum (Program #1495040C1).  The Apgar Scholar Research track will consist of four years of traditional anesthesiology training, followed by two years of research/clinical fellowship training. Since these two tracks have separate rank order lists, an applicant if he/she desires, may apply to one of the two tracks or to both tracks. We will not require two separate ERAS applications for the two tracks, but in order to identify yourself as being interested in applying for the Apgar Scholar track, you should mention this in your personal statement. If you are interested in becoming an Apgar Scholar you will need to indicate your preference by the program order on your rank order list. For example, rank the Apgar Scholars Program (Program # 1495040C1) above our regular categorical residency program (Program #1495040C0) if you want to be a resident in our program regardless of the track but prefer to be matched as an Apgar Scholar. If you do not want to be an Apgar Scholar then you should only rank the regular categorical residency program (Program # 1495040C0) and not list the Apgar Scholars Program on your rank order list.  In 2015, due to the high caliber of the applicants we offered 3 Apgar Scholars Research positions.

Will I be less likely to match at Columbia if I do not apply for an Apgar?

Absolutely not. Two Apgar Scholar positions will be offered through the NRMP each year so the majority of our residents will not pursue the Apgar pathway.

For further information on the Apgar Scholars Program contact:

Margaret Wood, M.D.
E.M. Papper Professor and Chair
Department of Anesthesiology
Columbia University
622 West 168th Street (PH5-505)
New York, NY 10032
Phone: 212-305-3117
Fax: 212-305-3296


Charles W. Emala, Sr.,M.S.,M.D.
Henrik H. Bendixen Professor of Anesthesiology
Vice Chair for Research
Department of Anesthesiology
Columbia University
New York, New York 10032
Phone: 212-305-8360
Fax: 212-305-8287

And/or access our website at:


All Virginia Apgar Scholars are members of the Virginia Apgar Society.

Virginia Apgar Society Members

Margaret Wood, MD (Honorary President)
Andrew Greenwald
Zachary Henderson
Joseph Pena
Matthew Barajas
Jennifer Lee
Jerri Chen
Elvedin Lukovic
William Jackson
Adam Gerber
Peter Yim
Jacob Schaff
Yolanda Huang
Brandon Esenther
Ryan Ivie
Andrea Miltiades
Emily Vail
Alexander Rusanov
Thomas Yocum
Jennifer Danielsson
Meredith Wagner
Nitin Sekhri
Cyrus Mintz
Rebecca Bauer
Connie Chung
May Hua
Sarah Smith
Steven Yap
Christopher Gay
Elena Reitman
Julia Sobol
Laurence Ring
Neil Gleason
Hannah Wunsch
George Gallos

June 2014 in the News: Apgar Scholars at the AUA

Dr. George Gallos elected to the AUA  

The Association of University Anesthesiologists was founded over 60 years ago to promote academic exchange within the specialty of anesthesiology.  Membership to the AUA occurs through a nomination process and review by current AUA members and the AUA council and is predicated upon a career with evidence of substantial scholarly activity and success in basic research, clinical research and education.  This year, George Gallos, MD was inducted as our department’s newest member to the AUA.  Dr. Gallos becomes the 18th member of our faculty to be a member of the AUA.  In addition to this honor Dr. Gallos recently received the 3 year Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Foundation Award for his research project that questions whether targeting ANO-1 channels in human uterine smooth muscle can prevent premature uterine contractions that lead to preterm labor.




Resident Travel Award

G. Tom Yocum, MD, received a resident travel award this year for his abstract entitled “Genetic Deletion of the GABAA a4 Subunit Leads to Increased Airway Resistance and Inflammation.”  In recognition of this honor Dr. Yocum was invited to present his research in an oral presentation.







"Participating in the Virginia Apgar Scholars program has been a wonderfully rewarding experience. Here at Columbia, our department does more than claim a dedication to academic pursuits: it delivers by fostering an atmosphere conducive to training the next generation of leaders in academic medicine and biomedical research. I have been especially impressed by its commitment to providing diverse mentorship, a true sense of collegiality, and for allowing the flexibility and latitude to tailor projects with my particular interests in mind."
George Gallos
Virginia Apgar Scholar
NIH T32-Trainee/NIH KO8 Awardee/OB Anesthesia Attending

George Gallos joined our faculty on July 2008 as an obstetric anesthesiology attending. In October 2008, he received a FAER Mentored Research Training Grant for Basic Science Research and in 2010, Dr. Gallos was awarded a KO8 award from the National Institutes of Health.  In 2013 Dr. Gallos received a junior faculty award for his oral presentation at the Association of University Anesthesiologist’s annual meeting for his work entitled: “A novel strategy to treat human pre-term labor: Targeting the TMEM16/anoctamin chloride channel in human pregnant uterus.” In 2014 Dr. Gallos received a 3 year Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Junior Scholar Award.

Hannah Wunsch joined the faculty in July 2008, and received a FAER Research Fellowship Grant, “Evaluation of Long-Term Outcomes for Intensive Care Patients”. She also has an NIH K-08 Award and was selected as an Irving Scholar for 2011-2014, a highly competitive junior faculty award recognizing the most promising academic faculty at Columbia University Medical Center.

Laurence Ring received the 2009 Resident Travel Award from the Association of University Anesthesiologists for his abstract oral presentation entitled: "Hypothalamic Knockout of Leptin Receptor in a Murine Model Leads to Early Obesity and Diabetes” and also the ASA 2009 Resident Research Competition First Prize.

Laurence Ring completed training on our T32 Fellowship Training Grant and continues his research in metabolic derangements/lung injury. He joined the faculty in July 2010 as an obstetric anesthesiology attending.

Julia Sobol (MD/MPH) was on our T32 program before becoming a CA1 resident, and in 2009 commenced her Critical Care Medicine Fellowship training. She joined the faculty later in the year.

Sara Smith completed a cardiac anesthesia fellowship and joined the cardiac anesthesia faculty in January 2012.

May Hua completed a critical care fellowship at Columbia; she joined the critical care faculty in January 2012.  In 2013 she was awarded the inaugural FAER/AQI mentored research award for training in health services research from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. 

Connie Chung joined the regional anesthesia faculty in January 2012. 

Elena Reitman elected to do an obstetric anesthesiology fellowship, along with obstetric pain and genomic research under the mentorship of Drs. Flood and Smiley, and joined the OB Anesthesia faculty at Columbia in the summer of 2011.

David Mintz was appointed to the NIH T32 research training grant and in 2012 received the resident travel award from the Association of University Anesthesiologists for his research talk entitled “Anesthetics Interfere with Axon Guidance via a GABAA Receptor Mechanism.”  His research abstract was also selected as one of the “Top Ten Abstracts” submitted to the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and won first place in the resident research contest for the 2012 Postgraduate Assembly (PGA) of the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists (NYSSA).  In 2013 he received a National Institutes of Health K08 mentored research grant.

Meredith Wagner completed a pediatric anesthesiology fellowship at Columbia and joined the pediatric anesthesiology faculty in 2013.

Jennifer Danielsson was appointed to the NIH T32 research training grant and did a clinical fellowship in regional anesthesiology.  She received the Resident Travel Award at the annual meeting of the Association of University Anesthesiologists in 2013 for her work entitled:” Novel chloride channel blockers relax airway smooth muscle: potential new tools to treat bronchospasm.” In 2014 she was awarded the Stony Wold-Herbert Foundation Research grant for her lung biology research and the Foundation of Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) Mentored Research Training Grant in Basic Science.

Thomas Yocum was appointed to the NIH T32 research training grant for basic science research and is a clinical neuroanesthesiology fellow.  He has embarked on studies related to GABAA receptor modulation of immune cell function during asthmatic lung inflammation and was awarded the Resident Travel Award at the annual meeting of the Association of University Anesthesiologists in 2014.  In 2015 he was awarded the Stony Wold-Herbert Foundation Research grant for his lung biology research and the Foundation of Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) Mentored Research Training Grant in Basic Science.

Alexander Rusanov was appointed to the NIH T32 research training grant and is pursuing bioinformatics research with the Department of Biomedical Informatics and has joined the Columbia faculty as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist.

"The Virginia Apgar Scholars Program put me on a great track towards an academic career in anesthesia.  I have had amazing guidance in developing my research and clinical interests.  I am so grateful for this unique opportunity.  Upon completion of residency I started a 2 year NIH T32 research fellowship with 80% protected nonclinical time in order to start my basic science career.  The first year my clinical duties were as a regional anesthesia fellow, and in the second year I was able to progress clinically with attending responsibilities. The excellent mentors in the department have helped me develop basic science research projects, and the Apgar Program has allowed me the time and support needed to really focus on research."
Jennifer Danielsson
Virginia Apgar Scholar

NIH T32 Research Fellow

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Columbia University

“The Apgar program is a great opportunity for those, like me, interested in a career in academic medicine. Not only are Apgar Scholars able to work with some of the best researchers in the country at Columbia, in and outside the department, but we also receive an enormous amount of career development guidance from experienced leaders. This support is not readily available to most residents in the country, but it is so important when working toward an independent academic career. I am currently on the second year of the NIH T32 Training grant, which stipulates my time be spent 80% research and 20% clinical. I served as a neuroanesthesiology fellow during my first year on the T32 grant, but as a result of recent changes, T32 fellows like me are now able to spend their clinical time during the second year as an attending.”
Gene (Tom) Yocum
Virginia Apgar Scholar
T32 Research Fellow
Neuroanesthesiology Clinical Fellow
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Columbia University

"Being part of the Apgar program has given me the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the field of Anesthesia. I have enjoyed a challenging and dynamic academic environment. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to learn and develop my research interests in such a collegiate and inspiring atmosphere. It has been a truly rewarding experience."
Elena Reitman
Virginia Apgar Scholar
Former OB Anesthesiology Fellow, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Columbia University

"The Apgar Program has given me the best opportunity imaginable to become a physician-scientist in the field of anesthesiology.  The generous protected time for research and the unparalleled scientific resources of the department have allowed me to rapidly develop my own project exploring the effects of anesthetics on the developing brain.  The greatest strength of the Apgar program lies in the advising and mentorship provided, whether it is from my own research advisor Dr. Neil Harrison, the department leadership, or the many faculty whose career paths I seek to emulate.”      
David Mintz
Virginia Apgar Scholar
Former Neuro Anesthesiology Fellow/NIH T32 Fellow.  David Mintz joined the faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins.

"As a Virginia Apgar Scholar, I have been encouraged to explore and expand my research interests, and my exposure to the dedicated, talented physician-scientists within our Department inspires and guides my career.  The Apgar Program demonstrates a genuine commitment by our Department to provide perhaps the most valuable resource in a nascent research career, protected, supported time to develop a project to completion.  I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop my interests in neurologic outcomes in the critically ill patient population under the guidance of Dr. Wunsch, herself an Apgar Society member.  My unique combined research and clinical experiences have allowed me to establish a solid foundation for my career in academic medicine."
Rebecca Bauer
Virginia Apgar Scholar
Former Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellow
Rebecca Bauer was a Critical Care Fellow at Northwestern University, Chicago and then joined the faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“It is a tremendous honor to be a member of the Virginia Apgar Scholars. The program offers a multitude of opportunities for future clinician-scientists, along with fantastic support and mentorship from brilliant, talented researchers. I am thrilled to train in such an exciting, passionate environment with top quality academic physicians.”
William Jackson      
Virginia Apgar Scholar

PGY3 Resident


We look forward to welcoming all our new residents in 2015, including the Apgar Scholars:

  • Tarif Chowdhury  - Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  •  Hugo Clifford - George Washington University School of Medicine
  • Bahaa Daoud - George Washington University School of Medicine
  • Julia Ding - Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine
  • Artem Gindin - University at Buffalo SUNY School of Medicine
  • Andrew Greenwald (APGAR) - Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
  • Zachary Henderson  (APGAR)  - Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
  • Danica Kim - Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
  • Anand Kumar - Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Cheng‐ting "CT"  Lee - University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
  • Hilana Lewkowitz‐Shpuntoff - Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  • Travis McKevitt - Albany Medical College
  • Claire Naus - University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Med
  • Joseph Pena (APGAR) - Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Tara Quinn- Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Avanish Reddy - Stony Brook University School of Medicine
  • Andrew Rivera - Harvard Medical School
  • Bryan Roller - Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Alex Saltzman - Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Sapan Shah - Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Sonali  Shah - SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Ai‐Lin Shao - SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine
  • Zuhair Siddiqui - University of Texas Medical School at Houston
  • Straub, Melissa - Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Spencer Walsh - University of Michigan Medical School
  • Catherine Zhu- SUNY Downstate Medical Center  College of Medicine

Annual Apgar Day and Apgar Lecturers

2003 Herbert Kleber, MD, Professor, NYPH Psychiatric Institute, "Pharmacotherapy for Drug Addiction"


John Driscoll, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, "Dr. Virginia Apgar: Innovator and Advocate"


Jeffrey Drazen MD, Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine, Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine, Harvard University, “Pharmacogenetics of Asthma”


PD Dr. med. Michael Zaugg, DEAA, Institute of Anesthesiology, E-HOF, University Hospital Zurich, “New Paradigms in Organ Protection: Anesthetic pre- and post-conditioning”


Steven Shafer, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University Medical Center, “The Anesthetic Pipeline”


Laurent G. Glance, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Vice-Chairman for Research, University of Rochester School of Medicine, “Health Care Report Cards: Report on the Report Cards “


Paul R. Knight III, MD, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Microbiology, Department of Anesthesiology, University at Buffalo, NY. “Aspiration Pneumonia (Disambiguation)”.


Thomas J. J. Blanck, MD, PhD, Dorothy Reaves Spatz, MD Professor of Anesthesiology, Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology, New York University School of Medicine. “Clinical Research: Past and Present”


Judy R. Kersten, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Senior Vice Chair of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin. “What’s So Bad About Being Sweet?” 


Jeanine M. D’Armiento, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in Anesthesiology, Columbia University.  Director of the Center for Molecular Pulmonary Disease in Anesthesiology and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics and Director, Center for LAM and Rare Lung Disease. “Molecular Mechanism in Lung Injury and Repair".


Y.S. (YS) Prakash, MD, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology & Physiology, Chair, Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.  “Nanoparticles for Targeting Lung Diseases: The Need for Intelligent Design”

Columbia University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology