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ASU nurse practitioner alumna brings grad school dream to life

Amanda Goodman

Opening her own medical clinic was something that Tanya Carroccio thought about for years. The type of care and services she wanted to provide really started to take shape during her time at Arizona State University.

“While in grad school, I had a dream of opening a wellness center as a nurse practitioner and knew one day I would come back to this vision,” she said.

Carroccio graduated from ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation in 2018 with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP). After graduating, she immediately took a job as a chief quality officer and corporate compliance officer for a rural county health care system. At the time, the role was familiar and fulfilling, but after a couple of years, things started to shift for Carroccio. In the summer of 2020, she returned to her dream and decided it was time to make it a reality.

“It wasn’t just because of the pandemic and stress in the acute care setting, but also because I recognized that health is the most important thing we have and have control over,” she said.

In January, Carroccio officially opened Benehealth — a functional medicine, wellness and regenerative aesthetics center — with her DNP colleague Lauren Bachman and her clinical residency mentor, Dr. Michael Castro. Carroccio serves as both the CEO of the clinic and medical director of the regenerative aesthetics program at Benehealth.

“We feature a person-centered approach that identifies and balances the root cause of unwanted symptoms or conditions, using science-backed tools to enhance our client's health from the inside-out and from the outside-in,” she said.  

Carroccio credits the DNP program for preparing her to be able to pursue her dream. Below she shares more about her experience at ASU and offers advice on how to make the most of your time in graduate school.

Question: How did your degree program help you in achieving and maintaining the position you have now? 

A: Completing the comprehensive DNP program at Edson College provided me with the clinical tools and degree to be a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner. The courses and faculty were instrumental in laying the foundation for opening an independent practice. Innovation has always been something I have exhibited in my previous roles, so going through a program that exemplifies innovation, systems and evidence-based practice lifted my foundation to another level for success. 

Q: What is a favorite memory from your time in your program? 

A: I absolutely loved working with the principals at ASU Biodesign and Mayo Clinic on my dissertation. I was a research assistant at Mayo while studying the effects of wearable devices in a wellness program at ASU Biodesign Department of Sustainable Health. Not only did I meet and interact with some of the most intelligent people in these programs, but I was also able to create a meaningful, applicable and replicable project. We have included the project as part of our core programs at Benehealth through health coaching, telehealth monitoring and wearable devices.

Q: What advice would you give to students who are currently enrolled in the program? 

A: You made it this far, embrace the experience. Tap into your professors and faculty often, they are a wealth of knowledge and are there to support you through your doctorate program. Manage your time wisely. Make innovative opportunities, they don't seek you out. For instance, I asked my DNP colleagues if they wanted to do a two-week Spanish immersion in Guatemala and do medical volunteer work while we were there. Once I knew we had interest, I asked if we could get credit for the hours and it was approved. So not only did several of us have an amazing experience, we were able to apply that experience to our degree program.

Q: What were some unique challenges, if any, you had to overcome while pursuing this degree?

A: I am the primary breadwinner, so I could not stop working. When I started the program, I was flying out every week to my work, which I loved, but knew I could not continue once clinical residency started. I also had aging parents that required more of my time who lived out of state. It seemed at times impossible to juggle all of the responsibilities, but I just kept telling myself to push on. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a doctorate degree, and being the only member of my family to have a university education, I knew I needed to press on. It paid off.

To learn more about Edson College alumni activities, events and programming visit the alumni section of the college's website.