Important gender differences in cardiac rehabilitation utilization are well established, yet few studies have documented whether reported barriers and referrals vary by ethnicity. This is a cross-sectional study to determine whether barriers and referrals to participation in cardiac rehabilitation differed by race/ethnicity in 304 women (52% ethnic minorities) hospitalized with coronary heart disease. Nearly all subjects (92%) strongly agreed that physician referral was important to participation in rehab, but only 22% of subjects reported physician instruction to attend. Whites were more likely than minorities to report instruction to attend cardiac rehabilitation, and minorities were more likely to report financial barriers when compared with whites. These disparities need to be addressed because minority women have a worse prognosis following hospitalization for coronary heart disease, and cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to improve survival.