Dr. Betty R. Vohr

Inducted: 2016
Dr. Betty Vohr obtained her bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University in 1962 and her medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1966. She then came to Rhode Island in order to pursue her post-graduate training in pediatrics at Rhode Island Hospital. She completed her internship in 1967, her residency in 1968, and her fellowship in Neonatology in 1970.

Her storied career has been continually devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care of the most-vulnerable among us–high risk premature infants and infants with hearing loss, Her 2016 induction into The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame fittingly commemorates the fiftieth year of her magnificent, humanitarian journey.

Dr. Vohr has been the Medical Director of Women & Infants Hospital’s Neonatal Follow-Up Program since 1974 and of the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program since 1990. She has also served as Coordinator of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network since 1997.

As a Professor of Pediatrics at the Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine, her primary clinical and research interests have focused on improving the long-term outcomes of high-risk and premature infants, particularly those with hearing loss. She has published hundreds of manuscripts, articles, textbook chapters, and professional reviews, and has received national acclaim for her ground-breaking outcome studies and intervention trials. She is the recipient of numerous national awards, including: The Gravens Award for “Leadership In The Promotion of Physical and Developmental Environments of High-Risk Newborns” (Clearwater Beach, 2015) The American Academy of Pediatrics Landmark Award For Lifetime Achievement (San Diego, 2014) The Rhode Island Medical Women’s Association “Woman Physician of the Year” (1999) The Marion Downs Award for “Outstanding Commitment to the Field of Pediatric Audiology” (Richmond, 1994), and again, for “Promoting the Vision of Early Identification, Intervention and Family Support for Hearing Loss to the Pediatric Community” (Denver, 2010)

Dr. Vohr is a world-renowned pioneer in her field and is directly responsible for founding and instituting Rhode Island’s internationally acclaimed universal newborn Hearing Assessment Program. That program, which has screened approximately 14,000 infants annually since 1993, was the first of its kind in the world and has set a national and international standard in the field. Her collaborative book, Precious Premies: The Post NICU Years, celebrated the miraculous success of numerous children, born very premature, who benefitted from care in our Women and Infants Hospital NICU. The book documents truly inspiring stories of hope and survival “from the littlest babies in the littlest state.”

Betty lives in Barrington with her husband, Thomas D. Gidley, Esquire. She has three children ” Jennifer Hurley, Matthew Vohr, and Jonathan Vohr ” and two step-sons, David and Ted Gidley. She is a Board Certified Diplomat of The American Board of Pediatrics (1971) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (1971)–a distinction awarded for her “on-going commitment to lifelong learning and advocacy for children.”

Betty Vohr is both a giant in her field and a selfless woman who has immeasurably enriched the lives of thousands. She is a true Rhode Island treasure.

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