Barbara Roberts, a member of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, is the first woman in Rhode Island to practice adult cardiology and the first woman accepted into Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Gorlin cardiology fellowship program.

She spent two years at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda doing medical research before her fellowship at the Harvard University teaching medical school. 

She has also been an active proponent of the anti-Vientam war movement and the pro-choice movement since before Roe v. Wade. On the day of Richard Nixon’s 1973 inauguration, Roberts spoke at the last anti-war demonstration on the Washington Monument’s grounds. In 1971, she served as the first national pro-choice demonstration keynote speaker. She has also played a part in the founding of the Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition (WONAAC) and was a Planned Parenthood staff physician.

In 2002, she founded the Miriam Hospital’s Women’s Cardiac Center and served as the director until 2016. During this time, the American College of Cardiology and American College of Physicians fellow lectured in the U.S. and abroad on gender-specific elements of heart disease and heart health as a whole.

Named a top doctor for women and a local legend by RI Monthly Magazine and the American Medical Women’s Association respectively, Roberts has received the Rhode Island Urban League Recognition of Excellence Award and the Rhode Island NAACP Ida Wells Barnett Award. She has also written several books, which include “The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story,” “Treating and Beating Heart Disease: a consumer’s guide to cardiac medicines” and  “How To Keep From Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Cardiovascular Disease.”

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