JoAnn Vitiello believes health care is for everyone.
Growing up in a household where it wasn’t always readily available, she understands the importance of proper medical care.
“I was raised from humble beginnings, and my parents didn’t have the luxury of having insurance, so when we were injured or got sick, we could go to the county hospital,” Vitiello said. “The nurses there left a big impression on my heart.”
That impression motivated Vitiello to pursue a 25-year career in medicine, including nearly 10 years as a certified family nurse practitioner.
With that experience in hand, she has taken the next step: opening Vitiello Primary Care and Ritual Wellness Medispa — two practices under one roof — in the Maricopa Professional Village.
Vitiello had practiced part-time at Southwestern Pediatrics in Maricopa and Esperanza Hope Primary Care in Mesa, among other offices. She has cultivated a following of patients, coworkers and friends, including many from Maricopa.
Jessica Spudich, Vitiello’s daughter and office manager at the new medispa, said she and her colleagues encouraged Vitiello to start her own practice, perhaps in aesthetics.
“For the longest time, we had encouraged her to open something … for four or five years, we have been encouraging her,” Spudich said, adding she thought it was important for Vitiello to have more control over the care of her patients.
“When it’s not your business, you only have so much say if there are issues.” Jessica said. “Customer service is her biggest thing. She believes because of where she came from, that everyone should receive the same service, no matter what.”
Elizabeth Chavez, a medical assistant of 10 years, worked with Vitiello and jumped at the chance to join her new practice.
“I have worked with JoAnn for over a year now. I love the way she treats her patients, the love and care she gives each patient,” she said.
Claudia Diaz believes in Vitiello, too. So much that she bought a home in Maricopa just to work with her.
Diaz was impressed with Vitiello’s doggedness when a diagnosis was difficult to attain.
The facility at Vitiello Primary Care and Ritual Wellness Medispa offers many examination rooms where consultations can take place with a sense of comfort and privacy. [Bryan Mordt]
“If a patient came in with something, and she didn’t know the answer, she would dig until she found out what was going on,” said Diaz, who has worked with Vitiello for five years.
A thought becomes a reality
Spudich said Vitiello has patients from all over the Valley, including Mesa, Glendale, Phoenix, San Tan Valley, Queen Creek and Chandler.
Thoughts of a new practice turned serious at the end of 2021. Once decided, it became a question of where to locate the facility.
Over the past several months, Vitiello and company started to put all the pieces into place. She recalled learning an office had become available for rent, around the corner from Southwestern Pediatrics.
“It was a blessing, because Maricopa real estate (for businesses) is very limited. It was just too good to be true” she said. “First I was nervous … but with everything aligning as it did, I couldn’t walk away from it.”
Everyone deserves health care
Vitiello thinks of her patients first, Diaz said.
“She puts herself in the patients’ shoes,” she said. “And if she needs to do a free visit for a patient that is in need, she doesn’t think twice.”
A lot of Vitiello’s customer service practices come from personal experience.
When she was a youngster, some in her community were intimidated by going to the doctor and didn’t feel comfortable, she recalled.
“They didn’t ask questions and were always under the assumption that they would be told everything,” she said.
One of Vitiello’s goals is to empower patients with knowledge about their own health and how to improve it.
A little bit of both
The new office will keep Vitiello busy.
“I have two practices running under the same roof,” she said.
At Vitiello Primary Care, the practice offers family medicine, health services for both men and women, and “trigger shots,” hormonal injections used in fertility therapy.
The Ritual Wellness Medispa offers aesthetics and “holistic” medicine.
Part of her mission, Vitiello explained, will be to help people feel the same way physically they do mentally.
“We have that inner self that tells us that we’re still that same girl,” Vitiello said. “But when we look in the mirror, we’re not happy with ourselves. I’ve always tried to do things to help people as well as myself … and I truly love it.”
The medispa offers treatments such as IV therapy, bio-identical hormone therapy, Botox and Xeomin. It also provides services for radiofrequency micro needling, an enhanced form of traditional micro needling that helps with acne scars, blemishes and loose skin.
Vitello’s medical career began in Ohio, a hotbed of nursing education.
“You’ve got Ohio University, Dayton University, Miami University, then you have some community colleges … you have some major universities who are spitting out nurses,” Vitiello said.
“Ohio is very aggressive in how they train their nurses” she said, pointing out what an important role her education and first experience as a nurse have played in molding her into the provider she is today.
Vitiello said she received “the best education ever” when her career was starting at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
She was a nurse in the hospital’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, where open-heart surgery patients stayed for 2-3 days for post-operative care.
Vitiello feels the practice of Western medicine is important. But she’s also concerned about the root causes of the symptoms.
With her experience, she’s seen where it can all go.
“Everyone I have met has been instrumental in helping me develop as a provider,” Vitiello said.
This content was first published in the September edition of InMaricopa magazine.