photo of Dr. Marianne Felice, Reliant Foundation Board Chair

The Reliant Foundation announced that it has elected Marianne Felice, M.D., as its next Board of Trustees Chair, and has also named Steven Pezzella, M.D., and Sanjay Shah, Ph.D., as the newest members of the Board.






“Dr. Felice has been an incredibly active and engaged member of our board for several years, and we’re honored to have her at the helm as we continue to address some of our community’s most critical public health challenges,” said Kelsa Zereski, president of the Foundation. “We’re equally excited to have Drs. Pezzella and Shah joining the Board, both of whom have tremendous experience in their respective fields and are highly regarded across the Greater Worcester community.”

Currently a Professor Emerita of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr. Felice has served in myriad leadership roles in her tenures at UC-San Diego Medical School, University of Maryland Medical School and most recently at UMass Medical School, where she served as Chair of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief of the Children’s Medical Center before retiring in 2015. Her tireless work on behalf of infants, children, and adolescents has been recognized by several organizations resulting in many awards locally and nationally. In her spare time, Dr. Felice enjoys playing tennis, practicing her drums (African and jazz), and attending the theatre with friends.

“I am honored to have been appointed as Board Chair, knowing I have the support and confidence of my fellow Trustees,” said Dr. Felice. “The mission of this organization and the impact it has on the mental health and behavioral health of children and adults is important to all of us, and I look forward to working with the board and staff to help improve underserved populations in Central Massachusetts.”

photo of Dr. Steve Pezella

Dr. Steve Pezzella

Dr. Pezzella joins Reliant Foundation’s Board after having spent more than 40 years in a multitude of roles with Fallon Clinic/Reliant Medical Group. A practicing cardiologist, Dr. Pezzella helped spearhead a number of major organizational developments during his tenure, and served as Acting President and CEO from 2006-2008, as well as Chairman of the Board from 2006-2009 (both while still Fallon Clinic). In addition to his clinical accomplishments, Dr. Pezzella has been involved with countless community organizations including the American Heart Association, Worcester State University, Worcester Area Nursing Consortium, St. Francis Nursing Hospital, and the Worcester Heart Ball. In retirement, Dr. Pezzella enjoys traveling, playing golf and spending time on Cape Cod.

“Going back to my time as an undergraduate at Holy Cross, Worcester has held a special place in my heart,” said Dr. Pezzella. “Contributing to the well-being of this city has always been of the utmost importance to me and my family, and I look forward to continuing that commitment through my service to the Reliant Foundation Board.”

photo of Dr. Sanjay Shah

Dr. Sanjay Shah

With a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Shah brings a unique business perspective to the Reliant Foundation Board. He spent 25 years in various leadership roles with long-time Worcester-based manufacturer Wyman-Gordon before starting EBS Consulting in 2000. Dr. Shah has been deeply involved in the Worcester community for decades, having served on the boards of India Society of Worcester, Reliant Medical Group, Mohegan Council-Boy Scouts of America, and the Wyman-Gordon Foundation. His fundraising acumen will serve to strengthen Reliant Foundation’s mission of supporting critical public health programs. 

“Through my opportunities with different non-profits in the area, I’ve witnessed some incredible accomplishments in and around this City,” said Dr. Shah. “But I’ve also seen many of the challenges we face as a community, and I know there is much work to be done. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Trustees to make Worcester the community we know it can be.”

More information about the Foundation, and how community members can continue to support its mission, can be found at

About The Reliant Foundation

Established in 1988 as a public charity, the Reliant Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals of all ages in the Central and MetroWest regions of Massachusetts. As a 501(c)3 charity, the Foundation offers grants to non-profit organizations within its service area for the purpose of supporting programs that battle critical public health issues like the opioid epidemic, and children’s mental health, as well as, to support COVID-19 recovery efforts for area non-profit grantees and the thousands of individuals they serve. Our charity partners provide life-saving recovery coaching, tele-mental health and behavioral health, grief counseling, and food. For more information, please visit