Vanessa Varalli

Master of Health Administration (Dal ’19) – current student
Master of Occupational Therapy (NYU ‘00)
Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Queen's ‘03)

‘Broadening my perspective on the world’

For years, Vanessa Varalli looked longingly at job opportunities in health administration but didn’t feel qualified—despite having a Bachelor of Science (Psychology), Master of Occupational Therapy and 12 years of experience as a clinical research coordinator at the IWK Health Centre.

In 2017 it was time, she says, “to pursue a degree and close the gap between my knowledge base and what was required for me to move forward.”

She chose Dalhousie’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) primarily because of the residency component. She was also drawn to the program’s interprofessional nature—that she would meet, work with, and learn from individuals with varied backgrounds and relevant experience.

Small classes, positive energy

Now in her second semester, Vanessa says her interactions, both with other students and with her professors, have been highlights.

“I look forward to discussions in class when the students ask questions and share their ideas. The room becomes full of positive energy,” she says. “The MHA program has small classes so we all get to know each other.

“Professors are supportive both inside and outside of the classroom. I always feel like I can go to them for help or for an interesting conversation—you really get the feeling that they all want you to succeed.”

Working for better healthcare

Vanessa is confident the MHA will help her meet her career goal. “Nova Scotia’s healthcare system is facing multiple challenges,” she says, “and I am motivated to be involved with developing strategies and problem solving to create positive change.”

“The program is expanding my understanding of topics I’ve had no exposure to, such as financial accounting and economics. It’s forced me to work hard at learning and broadening my perspective on the world.”