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Updated: October 28, 2019 / Outstanding Women in Business 2019

Fontaine advocates for women, patients

Photo | Matthew Wright Lori Fontaine, vice president, global clinical affairs for Hologic, Inc. in Marlborough
2019 Outstanding Women in Business Award winners
  • Lori Fontaine Vice president of global clinical affairs for Hologic, Inc. in Marlborough
  • Linda T. Cammuso Owner & partner of Estate Preservation Law Offices in Worcester
  • Tameryn A. Campbell President & CEO of Masonic Health System of MA Inc. & The Overlook in Charlton
  • Christine Cassidy Chief communications officer of Fallon Health in Worcester
  • Rita Kapur Vice president of operations for Atech Turbine Components, Inc., Auburn
  • Kate Shamsuddin Senior vice president for product strategy at Definitive Healthcare in Framingham

More Information

From an early age, Lori Fontaine knew what it meant to be a hard-working person.

Her father was a police officer, and her mom a nurse. Both of her brothers went into the military.

“I had a pretty good foundation,” she said.

That foundation sparked a long career in health care begun when she was a young adult who started working nights at a nursing home before studying nursing at Georgetown University.

Before graduating in 1990, she volunteered for the Institute of Latin American Concern, a Dominican healthcare organization rooted in faith and bringing health care and other services to impoverished countries.

“That was very humbling,” Fontaine said. “It really drove me to make sure that I never took for granted what we have in the U.S. in terms of health care.”

From there, her professional career began as an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center. During those 16-hour Christmas Eve shifts, Fontaine pondered how the U.S. healthcare system can do better to catch cancer early.

While taking care of sick patients, she learned about the ins and outs of the industry, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other therapies to help people live a fruitful life.

In 2002, she became manager of oncology health economics and reimbursement at Boston Scientific. She spent eight years at the Marlborough medical device giant, working at increasingly higher roles in the clinical department and on teams tasked with turning the company round after a 2006 corporate warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Fontaine was tasked with fixing quality problems at manufacturing plants and institute better processes to monitor products after they hit the market.

“That was a yearlong effort,” she said. “It was huge.”

The FDA cleared the company in 2010 after several years of not being able to sell certain products.

Then, she became a patient. After having her second child, Fontaine was diagnosed with the precancerous stage of cervical cancer.

Multiple procedures left her unable to have children, and she continued to have problems leading to yet another procedure with a product, NovaSure, made by her current employer, Hologic.

It was her dream job to work for Hologic, the company that helped change her life. She joined the firm in 2012 as vice president of clinical affairs.

“I have a boss that cares about me, a team I care about, and I get up every day to change people’s lives with the technology we create,” she said.

That boss is Pete Valenti, president of breast and skeletal health solutions.

“She’s an exceptional person, leader and someone I value tremendously – both how we look at things strategically and her ability to make an impact on the world around us,” Valenti said.

Fontaine is credited with improving the company’s clinical research, making it a more productive, efficient and engaged department. She helped develop new quality standards for better performance and reliability not only in clinical work, but also compliance and cost-reduction initiatives.

“Her functional expertise is incredible, but it’s really her commitment to the community around her, like making sure women have strong opportunities in leadership that goes beyond doing her job well,” Valenti said.

Fontaine is active in several healthcare organizations centered around women’s health and has spoken at several healthcare conferences, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women.

Thanks to her experience – both personal and professional – Fontaine can be a huge advocate for other women.

“A lot of women suffer these diseases in silence,” she said. “I’m thankful to have a voice for these patients.”

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