FALL 2021

The Business of Medicine

How an Executive MBA helped
Dr. Kristen Veraldi
take the lead through
the pandemic

// Alumni Feature

Kristen Veraldi
Deputy Chief of Medicine
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System
EMBA ’20

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business prepares its students to tackle anything in the business world, including working the front lines of a global pandemic. 

Dr. Kristen Veraldi (EMBA ’20) received her medical and doctoral degrees in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, but her drive didn’t stop there. In May of 2019, she returned to the University to earn her Executive MBA in Healthcare. Veraldi currently serves as the deputy chief of medicine at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System and as faculty for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Division of Pulmonary and Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. Veraldi also holds appointments with the Veterans Integrated Services Network 4 Specialty Care Integrated Clinical Community and the Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease at UPMC.


Veraldi’s attendance at a two-week leadership development course at Harvard planted the seed of returning to school to obtain her MBA. After a few extra years in the field, Veraldi was ready to take the steps necessary to make that degree happen. She looked to Pitt Business for its reputation and the close-to-home, world-class program. 

The Executive MBA in Healthcare program has provided Veraldi with the skills necessary to be a better teammate and better leader, and allowed her to merge her business skills with her medical knowledge.

“Integrating the skills and knowledge gained from all facets of the program has elevated my performance in my continued role as the deputy chief of medicine at VA Pittsburgh and has supported my success in larger projects I have since become involved with at the facility, regional, and national levels,” says Veraldi. “I appreciate the value not only of improving my quantitative and soft skills, but also in learning how to apply them in real-world settings.”

The driving force behind obtaining her MBA was her goal to contribute to improving health and access to healthcare. This goal helps set the framework of Veraldi’s role as a healthcare professional.

“Healthcare professionals bring an important perspective to the administrative table and have a responsibility to participate in shaping the future of healthcare,” says Veraldi. “To do so, it is important that we understand the increasingly complex business of medicine. The Executive MBA in Healthcare program provides that foundational knowledge that allows healthcare professionals to put their clinical experience into context and participate fully in the conversation.”   

Kristen Veraldi

“I cannot think of a single course or experience that hasn’t proven to be relevant and valuable as I have navigated the pandemic both as an administrator and as a clinical care provider.”


Coronavirus under a microscope

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it brought worldwide attention and change to the healthcare industry. Veraldi found herself having to find new ways to navigate her time between her clinical and administrative responsibilities. Her experience at Pitt Business has proven to be critical in navigating her professional roles during the pandemic.

“There were components of both roles that had become reflexive, and the pandemic rather suddenly forced us to pause, analyze, and revise our practices,” says Veraldi.

“We had no choice but to manage change rapidly, to hear and respond to fears and concerns, develop and operationalize new processes, apply technology in new and innovative ways, respond to supply chain disruptions, plan for an uncertain future in the face of dramatic changes in costs and revenue … the list feels endless at times.”

“The MBA experience informed my approach to problem-solving and, more importantly, allowed me to recognize and act upon opportunities for growth and improvement.”


Now, as an alumna, Veraldi is aware of how important it is to stay engaged with and give back to the program that has helped her so much.

“My business education has helped me immensely,” says Veraldi. “I cannot think of a single course or experience that hasn’t proven to be relevant and valuable as I have navigated the pandemic both as an administrator and as a clinical care provider. The curriculum afforded me far better insight into the local implications of a global event, a framework which has proven invaluable when developing strategies for the immediate and longer-term future.”

Carrie Leana, George H. Love Professor of Organizations and Management and academic director of the Executive MBA in Healthcare, continues to see the value Veraldi contributes to both the University and the medical community.

“Kristen is articulate, thoughtful, and has a strong but unassuming leadership style that welcomes others’ contributions,” says Leana. “She has earned a reputation as a team player who has the ability and motivation to consider opportunities and challenges from multiple points of view. In short, Kristen is everything we hope for in an executive MBA student and a leader in healthcare, particularly in the demanding circumstances we now face.”

Carrie Leana

Professor Carrie Leana