Patricia Barr

Patricia Barr turned her personal struggles into a national cause as an advocate for breast cancer research and treatment. Barr learned her trade by clerking for various lawyers, earning the highest possible score on the bar exam without taking a single law school class. In her law practice, she focused on family law issues like child support and domestic violence protection. She briefly served on the Vermont State Board of Education from 1984–1989, during which time she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given five years to live. She threw herself into activism, becoming a founding director of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, chair of the Ethics Subcommittee on the Breast Cancer Task Force, and part of the advisory committee for genetic testing that gave recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. She was the founder and president of the Vermont Breast Cancer Network. At the same time, she worked for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, serving as chair of Peace Now from 1998 until her death in 2003.

Topics: Activism, Education, Law

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Pat Barr (1950-2003) with her husband Rolf Sternberg and their daughters Shira (left) and Tava (right) in 2000.

Date of Birth
Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Patricia Barr." (Viewed on August 12, 2020) <>.


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