September 9, 2017 saw the passing of Harold R. Roberts, MD at the age of 87. Over the course of his more than 50-year career, the North Carolina native was a highly regarded physician, teacher, researcher, author and mentor in the field of hematology.
After earning both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, he was appointed to the faculty in 1961. In 1967, he became Chief of UNC’s Division of Hematology. Roberts founded the UNC Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis in 1978 and served as its director for 20 years. He also worked with esteemed researcher Dr. Kenneth Brinkhous, to develop the first highly purified plasma-derived concentrate of blood clotting factor VIII. Among the many posts he held, Roberts was a charter member and first Executive Director of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH). From 1999-2007, he served as Senior Associate Editor of ISTH’s official publication, the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.
Roberts was the recipient of many awards and honors over the years. In 1965 he was the recipient of UNC Medical School’s Basic Science Teaching Award and in 2000 he received the Medical Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award. In 1991, he was awarded the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) Physician of the Year in honor of Dr. Brinkhous and in 1997 he was awarded NHF’s Researcher of Year in honor of Dr. Murray Thelin. He was also a member of NHF’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, serving as its chair from 1988 to 1994. He is survived by two sons, Eric and John and two grandchildren, Carl and Alexandra. He was preceded in death by his wife Marilyn, who passed away earlier in 2017.