Dorene Petersen, Founder and President American College of Healthcare Sciences Nominee 2019 Phenomenal Women’s Award

Dorene Petersen, Founder and President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, (ACHS) will be honored as one of eight nominees selected by the Oregon Women’s Health Network for the 2019 Phenomenal Women’s Award, at the 2nd Annual International Women’s Day Celebration, on March 8, 2019, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Laguanita’s Community Room, located at 237 NE Broadway St #300, Portland, OR.  For more information:

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Petersen, was chosen for the 2019 Phenomenal Women’s Award nomination because, 40 years ago, she founded ACHS with a passionate belief in the power of distance, experiential, wellness education reaching people from diverse locations and all walks of life long before the internet existed.
Petersen was running the South Pacific College of Natural Therapeutics’ (SPCNT) distance learning program in Auckland, New Zealand in 1997 when the college proposed shutting down the program.  Petersen, in her foresight, had other plans. She proposed a teach-¬out program for the current students and with the blessing of SPCNT she founded ACHS. “Armed with a second¬hand IBM typewriter, a fold¬up table, and two cardboard boxes for student files, organic botanicals and essential oils for lab kits, I was initially a one-woman office,” Petersen recalls. After 40 years the college has grown to 28 accredited online programs in holistic health, a staff of over 75 and maintains a 99% student satisfaction rate.

“Once students were empowered to take control of their health naturally without uprooting their family to get to school, the college continued to grow. My passion is truly helping people learn how to heal themselves and to witness the profound freedom and often career success that brings. Our slogan is live well, learn well, educate others for a reason. When we care for each other and share our collective knowledge—building on traditions!—we can accomplish anything and the last 40 years as ACHS’s President has shown this to be true” says Petersen.
Based in Portland Oregon, ACHS is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). ACHS is one of the few accredited holistic health colleges offering fully online programs. Students earn Masters, Bachelors and Associates degrees in a range of integrative health modalities, stackable certificates or continuing education in aromatherapy, nutrition, herbal medicine, and more.  

For questions about this press release or to schedule an interview with ACHS leadership, email [email protected].

About ACHS – Founded in 1978, is a Portland, OR-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education with a campus in Kona, Hawaii. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and wellness coaching. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and has been named to the top 10 of Oregon Business magazine’s 100 Best Green Workplaces three years in a row (ranking number two in 2017) The college was selected again in 2019 as one of  Oregon’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work For by Oregon Business Magazine. ACHS was also honored in 2016 and 2017 with a When Work Works awards, administered by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management, and received the City of Portland Sustainability at Work Certification in 2017. ACHS is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and is also approved by the Office of Degree Authorization of the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission and authorized by the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP). Visit