Barbara H. Roberts M.D.

Inducted: 2006

Dr. Barbara Roberts, an eminent cardiologist with a private practice, is truly a legend in Rhode Island. She was the first woman to be accepted into the Gorlin cardiology fellowship program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard University Medical School Teaching Hospital, and the first woman to practice adult cardiology in Rhode Island. She is known as an astute clinician and a deeply caring healer. For these attributes, the Rhode Island Medical Women’s Association named her “Physician of the Year” in 2000; Brown University School of Medicine gave her the “Distinguished Teacher Award” in 2000; and the Rhode Island Heart Association designated her “Physician of the Year” in 2003. She has served as the president of the Rhode Island Medical Women’s Association and has mentored and supported the careers of many of that organization’s 250 physicians during their medical training and residency.

Dr. Roberts is now a national and international pioneer in women’s cardiovascular health, confronting the epidemic of cardiovascular disease in women. She has written that “Worldwide over eight million women die each year from heart disease or stroke, almost eighteen times the number who die of breast cancer and six times more than the number who die of HIV/AIDS.” She is fighting to alert women to this alarming fact.

Specialized cardiac care for women was not available in Rhode Island when Dr. Roberts arrived here from the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine in 1977. Now she is director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at The Miriam Hospital–a facility that offers a comprehensive approach to heart health with diagnostic and clinical services, access to surgery, angioplasty and stent procedures, and rehabilitation and behavioral medicine services. In addition, Barbara is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Brown University Medical School.

To address the international epidemic of heart disease in women, Dr. Roberts is actively involved in ProCOR, an organization committed to global cardiovascular health–especially women’s heart health in the developing world. Her work with ProCOR is aimed at identifying strategies to help women in different regions and cultures address risk factors such as sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

Dr. Roberts the author of the new book, How to Keep from Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Cardiovascular Disease–a study that former U. S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher described as “a book that could save many lives.” She also lectures extensively in her areas of expertise.

Born in Greenwich Village, New York, the oldest of ten children, and educated at Albertus Magus High School, Barnard College of Columbia University, and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Barbara now lives in Jamestown with her husband Joseph Avarista, the noted sculptor.

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