Mob Doctor: The Physician Who Saved a Mafia Boss’s Life and Changed History
Dr. Barbara Roberts, a Rhode Island cardiologist, saw her life turned upside down when she was tasked with saving the life of Raymond Patriarca Sr., boss of the New England Mafia. While Roberts focused on her fragile patient’s health, she and her family dealt with criticism for her role in the crime kingpin’s legal battles. Roberts’ memoir, Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story, details her experiences in the final years of Patriarca’s life, as well as her love affair with a future Mafia boss.
This program will take place in the Museum’s Historic Courtroom.
Dr. Barbara Roberts
Barbara Roberts, MD was the first woman to practice adult cardiology in the state of Rhode Island. She graduated from Barnard College and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine where she did her medical internship. 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 Richard Nixon’s inauguration in 1973. She spent two years doing medical research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, then completed a cardiology fellowship at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, at teaching hospital of Harvard University. She was a staff physician at Planned Parenthood for many years, and continues on the voluntary faculty at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University where she is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine.
She founded and directed the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI from 2002 to 2016. During those years she lectured in the United States and in many foreign countries on heart health and gender-specific aspects of heart disease. She is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. She is the recipient of many awards including the Rhode Island NAACP Ida Wells Barnett Award and the Rhode Island Urban League Recognition of Excellence Award. She was named a Top Doctor for Women three times by RI Monthly Magazine and was chosen by Ms. Magazine in their first group of Found Women. She was inducted into the RI Heritage Hall of Fame in 2006 and was named a Local Legend by the American Medical Women’s Association. She is the author of How To Keep From Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Cardiovascular Disease, (Jones & Bartlett, 2004, second edition, 2009 Chinese Edition, 2008), Treating and Beating Heart Disease: a consumer’s guide to cardiac medicines, (Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2009),The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs (Simon & Schuster, 2012, Italian edition, La Verita Sul Colesterololo, 2013, Hebrew edition 2013, audio book 2013) and The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story (Heliotrope Books 2019)