Today women are fighting for rights to our bodies, searching for success in what is still a men’s dominated workforce, and balancing motherhood along with everything else. We look to influencers and self-help experts for guidance. But the one woman we should look at is someone who helped pave the way for females in all these areas: Barbara Roberts, MD, the first woman to practice adult cardiology in Rhode Island (as a single mother of 3 no less) and outspoken feminist who fought for safe abortions.
Dr. Roberts’ life is a story of passion: for women’s rights, motherhood, medicine, love, and the underdog. She stood up for what she believed in and battled politics, career stereotypes, her children’s fathers, the Family Court system, public scrutiny, and even her own conscience at times. And she made it through all, proving to be the hero of her own unique journey. Her memoir, The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story [Heliotrope Books, September 3, 2019], details it all.
“I wrote this book because the world has changed so much from the world I grew up in,” Dr. Roberts recently told NBC 10’s Coffee Break with Frank and Friends Facebook TV Show. “I wanted particularly younger women to be able to learn some lessons in how to survive adversity, how to overcome heartbreak and how to come out in the end and really have led a full and happy life.“
About Barbara Hudson Roberts, MD
Barbara Hudson Roberts, MD was the first female adult cardiologist in the state of Rhode Island. She graduated from Barnard College and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. As a resident at Yale New Haven Hospital, she became active in the pro-choice movement, before Roe v Wade made abortion legal. She helped found the Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition (WONAAC) and was the keynote speaker at the first national pro-choice demonstration in Washington DC in November 1971. She also was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, and spoke at the last mass anti-war demonstration on the grounds of the Washington Monument on the day of Nixon’s inauguration in 1973. She was a staff physician at Planned Parenthood for many years, and continues on the voluntary faculty at Brown where she is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine.
About the Doctor Broad
The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story is the memoir of Barbara H. Roberts, MD. There are people in the know who say that she caused the downfall of the New England Mafia. She did this, not by killing someone, or sending someone to jail, but by keeping someone alive, and out of prison, for about a year too long. During this time, Roberts navigated life in two separate worlds. In the “straight” world, she was a single mother of three, the first woman to practice adult cardiology in Rhode Island, and an active feminist. In the other world she was the physician whose testimony prevented Raymond L. S. Patriarca, the head of the New England Mafia, from having to go to trial, and the secret lover of the alleged #3 man in the New England Mafia, Louis “Baby Shanks” Manocchio. Roberts’ commitment to feminism and medicine leads her into unexpected byways as she faces moral dilemmas she never envisioned, but two things of the girl she once was remain: a love of children and a desire to heal. Her story was even featured on an episode of the Crimetown podcast.
The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story releases on September 3, 2019.