Julie Skaff

Chief Operating Officer, Viz.ai

When you go to Tuck, you're there for two years, but you're a part of the community for the rest of your life.

The Journey

Julie Skaff T’08 studied Political Science and planned to become a lawyer before her work as a legislative aide for Sen. Diane Feinstein intervened. In three years on Capitol Hill, Skaff gained an appetite for tackling complex issues that a legal career seemed unlikely to satisfy. “I realized an MBA would better prepare me for the kind of work that I wanted to do, which was addressing the big macro issues I dealt with on the Hill, but in a more innovative and entrepreneurial way,” says Skaff, who chose Tuck for its academic rigor and strong feeling of community. “When you go to Tuck, you're there for two years, but you're a part of the community for the rest of your life.

The Revelation

After graduation Skaff joined the health care group at Booz & Company, for reasons both practical (much of the industry is centered around New York) and idealistic. “Once you start working in health care and get that adrenaline rush of having a positive impact, it’s hard to think about being in another industry,” Skaff says. A founding team member at OODA Health, a startup developing technology to streamline the health care payment system, she is now Chief Operating Officer at Viz.ai, which uses artificial intelligence to speed stroke treatment.

If doctors identify a particularly devastating type of stroke called a Large Vessel Occlusion quickly enough, they can clear the blockage using new procedures, but due to delays in diagnosis and lack of coordination, fewer than 10 percent of patients receive the treatment. “In stroke care, we say ‘time is brain.’ For every minute somebody is not treated they lose two million brain cells,” Skaff says, adding that studies have demonstrated Viz.ai’s technology saves an average of 52 minutes.

The Future

Skaff’s health care career has provided her the opportunity she sought to make meaningful change, and fostered a deep appreciation for the type of wise leadership the industry needs. “There’s huge opportunity for programs like Tuck and MHCDS because you need people who understand the constraints of health care. Facebook used to talk about ‘go fast and break things.’ Well, it’s the opposite in health care. In health care it’s ‘first, do no harm.’”

Continue Reading

Related Stories

Driving Innovation in Health Care: Meet Jeff Woods T’05

Health care in the U.S. is a $4 trillion industry. Jeff Woods D’97, GR’98, MED’98, T’05 believes private sector innovation will make it more efficient and effective. 

Read More

Addressing the Opioid Crisis through the Power of Community: Meet Steve Kelly T’18

As cofounder of Boston-based Better Life Partners, Steve Kelly T’18 is focused on providing same-day treatment for opioid use disorder by tapping into a network of community organizations.

Read More

Making the Most of Time at the Laundromat: Meet Courtney Bragg T’18

For Courtney Bragg T’18, founder of Fabric Health, the key to helping the millions of low-income people across the country started in an unlikely place—the laundromat.

Read More

How to Be a Successful Operations Leader

To succeed in operations, says ZOE COO Nicole Xu T’11, you need the short-term vision to run the business day-to-day, but you also need to be able to think three to five years ahead to build for the future. 

Read More

Anu Codaty

As VP of interventional pain at Medtronic, mission-driven leader Anu Codaty T’04 is helping to alleviate patients’ pain, restore health, and extend human life.

Read More

Phong Nguyen

Phong Nguyen made the leap to health care with Accolade, a provider of personalized health and benefits solutions to employees and their families

Read More

Diane Daych

After Tuck, Daych worked as “a generalist in the buyout world,” before making the conscious decision to focus on health care during a time when the industry was becoming dramatically more complex.

Read More

E. Selemon Asfaw

 E. Selemon Asfaw’s interest in health care came later, awakened during a summer internship at Goldman Sachs and sharpened the next year in a Tuck elective.

Read More

Enoch Kariuki

Enoch Kariuki’s blend of scientific knowledge and business training is suited to the current moment in biotech, where breakthroughs in the understanding of the human genome and technologies have opened a world of new opportunity.

Read More

Si France

France began his career at McKinsey as a health care consultant, where his exposure to urgent care centers in Portland, Oregon called to mind a Tuck lecture entitled “Is Your Industry Ready for a Rollup?”

Read More

Simplifying the Search for Therapy: Meet Jonathan TranPham T’10

Jonathan TranPham T’10, founder & CEO of reflect, wants to improve lives by making it easier to access quality mental health resources.

Read More

Laura Ward T’89 Is Tackling the Mental Health Stigma

Armed with an MBA and an MPH, Laura Ward T’89 is building a more informed health care model for individuals with histories of trauma and abuse.

Read More

The Humble Leader

In 2015, Tuck alumna Aisha Barry decided to change the course of her career to help other people who felt immobilized by the health care system and a disease diagnosis.

Read More

Betsabeh Hermann

Before you know what she is, you first need to know what Betsabeh Hermann T’13 is not: She is not an astronaut. Or at least, not yet anyway.

Read More

John Sory

In pioneering new health-care models emphasizing preventive care, John Sory T’93 overcame skepticism in the most direct way possible: He guaranteed better results.

Read More

Lea Tompsett

At Boston-based nonprofit Health Leads, Lea Tompsett T’06 is working with health care providers and social service agencies to ensure patients have access to basic necessities: food, transportation, housing.

Read More

Duncan Reece

Duncan Reece T’08 was seven years into a career in finance when he realized he wanted to have a greater impact on the world around him. He found that connection in the health-care industry.

Read More

James “Jim” Lindstrom

Jim Lindstrom T’01 has a career of both investment and senior operational roles—a unique perspective to lead a multinational corporation in today’s dynamic environment.

Read More

Amrit Ray

Amrit Ray T’02 is working to improve compassionate access to investigational medicines and medicines for children—callings that combine his professional strengths with his personal convictions.

Read More

On Networking

Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck. 

Read More