Meet five women of strength

Professional Women’s Committee profiles five dynamic UMMS women in honor of Women’s History Month

By Lisa Dayne

UMass Medical School Communications

March 17, 2011

There are many extraordinary professional women at UMass Medical School, and during the month of March, members of the UMMS community have an opportunity to meet five of them. In recognition of National Women’s History Month, exhibits at the entrances of the Lamar Soutter Library at the Worcester campus, and the cafeteria at the South Street campus in Shrewsbury, profile the following women:  

yarnie onorato bellil hilgar Diterlizzi
Shelly Yarnie 
MPH associate director of the MassAHEC Network
Patti Onorato 
MS, RN, APN,  deputy chief operating officer Commonwealth Medicine
Linda Long-BellilPhD, JD, assistant professor of family medicine & community health and project director with the Disability Health and Employment Policy Group Lanny Hilgar
director of university events
Angela DiTerlizzi 
project manager in Information Services


The exhibits were created by the Professional Women’s Committee (PWC). 

“UMass Medical School has been successful in promoting the contributions of women faculty to the field of medicine and to our institution, but fewer vehicles exist to recognize the achievements of professional women,” said Shelley Stark, senior analyst in the Center for Health Policy and Research and leader of the PWC Women’s History Month subcommittee. “This exhibit serves to highlight the contributions of UMMS professional women to our institution and to its collective history.” 

PWC members utilized the theme for National Women’s History Month 2011—Our History is Our Strength—when selecting candidates for the exhibit. “We wanted to be as inclusive as possible in representing the diversity and talent of our women professionals,” said Stark. Once a 

list was established, PWC senior advisor and member Marlene Tucker, director of the UMMS Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office, and PWC chair Clara Orlando, JD, associate director of Commonwealth Medicine Human Resources, Diversity, Compliance and Recruitment, selected the women to be profiled from a list of 16 nominees. 

Interviews were conducted with each of the five finalists, who were asked to reflect on their personal and professional histories, recount some valuable life lessons, talk about what inspires them and describe what “Our History is Our Strength” means to them. Here is a sampling of some of their responses: 

 “I find that stories of women’s achievements and courage are a source of strength and that women can be essential role models to everyone.” 
–Angela DiTerlizzi 

“I believe there’s not much you can’t do if you apply yourself and acquire the appropriate resources.” 
–Lanny Hilgar 

“I believe that the life lessons we gather throughout our personal history inform what we do today and how we are able to achieve our mission and goals.” 
–Linda Long-Bellil 

“There is enormous value in storytelling—really being able to have your own voice tell your story, your experiences and how they shape and influence you and your actions.” 
–Patti Onorato 

“Knowledge of women’s strength and contributions builds respect and nourishes self esteem in children and adults alike.” 
–Shelly Yarnie 

The exhibits will be on display at both locations throughout the month of March. 

About the Professional Women’s Committee 

The mission of the PWC is to create a work environment that is inclusive and supportive of all professional women employees, enhances their professional and personal development, promotes salary equity at all professional levels, and enables UMMS to earn its individual and collective regard as an “employer of choice.” For more information visit the PWC website.  

Related Links: 

Lamar Soutter Library

 Photo credit: TinaFrizzell