Dorene Petersen

Founding President - American College of Healthcare Sciences

Founding President - American College of Healthcare Sciences

The American College of Healthcare Sciences was founded in 1978 by Dorene Petersen in New Zealand. She later opened additional branches in Australia and Hong Kong. Today, ACHS is housed entirely on the U.S. campus located in Portland, Oregon.

In May 2009, the College officially changed its name from the Australasian College of Health Sciences to the American College of Healthcare Sciences. The name change celebrated the College’s 20th anniversary of operations in the United States and better represented the College’s long-term goals as an Institute of Higher Learning in the U.S.  In 2018, ACHS celebrated four decades of excellence in holistic health distance education.

ACHS President Dorene Petersen holds a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from Otago University, New Zealand, a Diploma in Natural Therapeutics from the South Pacific College of Natural Therapies in Auckland, New Zealand, and completed specialized training in Chinese herbal medicine and moxibustion. She has also completed part one of the Advanced International Training Program in essential oils at Purdue University.

In addition to her work as President of the College, Dorene teaches courses for ACHS and leads the ACHS study abroad programs to Greece, India, and Indonesia, which explore holistic health, holistic nutrition, and therapeutic aromatherapy and distillation, among other topics.

She is an eCollege certified online instructor and is a faculty member meeting the qualifications prescribed by the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization. She stays abreast of current methodologies through various training with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and by attending annual conferences about online learning, educational technology, and instructional design. Dorene regularly lectures about medical herbalism, aromatherapy, iridology, and natural body care, including appearances at: The South Pacific College of Natural Therapies (NZ), National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) formerly National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM), the Aesthetics Institute, the Birthingway School of Midwifery, and Western States University, all in Portland, Oregon.

In addition, Dorene has appeared on various TV and radio shows, including Good Morning Oregon, the National Radio Show Voice of America, KPTV Better Portland, and In the Garden. She also has presented papers at the Asian Aromatherapy Conference (AAC) Delhi, India; Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress & Expo, Kunming, Yunnan, China; International Center of Advanced Aromatherapy (ICAA) at WonGwang Digital University in Seoul, Korea; International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades Annual Conference in California, USA; the Aroma Environment Association of Japan in Tokyo, Japan; the Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress and Expo in Bali, Indonesia; the World Perfumery Congress in Cannes, France; The Northwest Regional Lavender Conference II in Portland, Oregon; The Herb Growers and Marketers Conference in Hyannis, Massachusetts; the International Scientific Aromatherapy Symposium in Grasse, France; the Alliance of International Aromatherapists Conference at Rutgers University, New Jersey,  and at the International Herb Association Conference in Portland, Oregon. Her articles about have appeared in publications worldwide, including: Mind Body Green, Journal of the American Herbalist Guild, Indian Perfumer, Perfumer & Flavorist, International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy, Alternative Therapies in Clinical Practice, The News Quarterly, Making Scents, The Herbarist, the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, Massage Magazine, the International Herb Association Herb of the Yearbooks, ME (a Massage Envy health and wellness publication), and the Aromatherapy Registration Council newsletter. She has also been interviewed by a number of notable publications such as Aromaculture, Cosmopolitan, In Style, and Face the Current Magazine.

In 2019, Dorene was 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.

In 2018, Dorene was invited to present to a select group of professionals in the essential oil industry in Bryon Bay, Australia. Her presentation focused on the biological potential of notable Australian essential oils accompanied by an experiential aroma session.

In 2017, Dorene was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) from Winrock, a PVSA certified organization, for her 2016 volunteer. She received the bronze award for 100+ service hours.

In 2016, Dorene traveled as a volunteer with USAID and Winrock International for a three-week assignment in the Kathmandu, Sarlahi, and Bardiya districts November 2016 to train union members on essential oil distillation, strategic marketing, and high-quality production skills.

In 2014, Dorene was awarded the National Association of Nutrition Professionals Service Award at 2014 Annual Conference & Expo.

Since 2000, Dorene has served as Chair of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC), an independent, nonprofit organization that administers the national examination in aromatherapy to ensure minimum standards of training and safety knowledge of registered aromatherapists.

Dorene is active with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).  She was a DEAC Nominating Committee member (2015-2018), as well as a member of the Research and Educational Standards Subcommittee before it was disbanded. She chaired the DEAC annual meeting and conference in Seattle in 2006.

Dorene is also a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. In 2009, Dorene was awarded the Professional Service Award from the International Herb Association for her outstanding contributions to the herb industry.

Articles by Dorene

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