2023 ACHS President Reflection

Dec 29, 2023 9:06:00 AM | accredited online holistic health programs Reflections from 2023: A Year of Innovation, Impact, Engagement

Reflect on achievements & highlights of 2023 with President Tracey Abell. Discover how ACHS is shaping the future of integrative health & wellness education.

As President of American College of Healthcare Sciences, December is one of my favorite months, second only to June, when we celebrate our inspiring graduates at Commencement! I love December because with it comes the opportunity to celebrate everything we have achieved during the year - personally and professionally. We're able to take a moment and feel gratitude for all of the teamwork, innovation, and transformational learning that occurred, and we reflect on all our students and graduates have achieved. 

Our students and graduates are at the center of everything we do at ACHS. Our hope is for everyone to have a safe and nurturing place to learn and share ideas, to have the opportunity to help others, and to thrive in the ways that are most important to them. 

When I reached out to students to ask what achievement or highlight from 2023 will propel them into the new year, ACHS graduate and Student Veteran Peer Tutor Angela Belcher shared this beautiful sentiment that embodies all we strive for at ACHS:

I'll remember that ACHS is a safe space where I could explore who I am without fear and judgment. I explored my beliefs and convictions daily, and I've grown in ways I couldn't have imagined three years ago.

We achieved so much together this year and grew in ways we may not have even appreciated. Here are just a few of our highlights for 2023:


Supporting Student Learning: Expanded ACHS Peer Tutor Center

After a successful pilot test for the Fall 2022 semester, ACHS expanded its Peer Tutor Center in 2023. ACHS Peer Tutors worked with 99 students and provided over 400 individual student tutorials in 2023. Our Peer Tutor Center is excited to expand services even further in 2024. The Peer Tutor Center serves as a virtual hub where students can access assistance from trained peers in academic areas, including writing and grammar, research paper development, case study design, and APA support. Learn more about our Peer Tutor Center and meet two peer tutors honored with student awards at the ACHS 2023 Graduation Ceremony: Angela Belcher, Student Leadership Award recipient and Dani Reyes, Distinguished Peer Tutor Award recipient.


Pictured Left: Peer Tutor Award recipient Dani Reyes. Pictured right: 2023 ACHS graduate Angela Belcher accepting her Student Leadership Award from ACHS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Tiffany Rodriguez.


Building Connections: Educators & Employers Working Together

In October 2023, ACHS held its second annual employer summit. This Summit brings together academic and industry leaders to strategize on the skills most important to today's employers and for the workforce of the future in integrative health and wellness. If you are an employer or know an organization interested in bringing more wellness to your workplace, please reach out to us. We'd love to share more information and support your organization. 
2023 Employer Summit Partners Blog


Connecting Students with Mentors

In Spring 2024, ACHS will welcome new mentors to support and coach ACHS students and graduates. The ACHS Mentorship program creates a unique mentorship and community-building opportunity that allows the student or graduate to learn from a graduate who is already putting their education to use to help facilitate building business skills and tools. Meet two of our new mentors, Sharon Harrasser and Michael Ford: 

Sharon has used her experience and passion to carve out a specific niche in the health and wellness field. She is also passionate about her peers' success, as she knows the need is prominent in the community to have educated practitioners in health and wellness modalities. Her advice to ACHS students and alums with an entrepreneurial goal is to have patience with yourself as you grow your business.
Michael Ford is a graduate of several certificate and diploma programs, as well as, our Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative MedicineMaster of Science in Herbal MedicineMaster of Science in Aromatherapy and Master of Science in Integrative Health SciencesHerbal medicine was his first step into the world of holistic health in the mid-90s with an herbalism apprenticeship, so it’s something he always came back to. The idea of plants as medicine captivated him as a child. He always knew he would end up in the healthcare industry, but he also knew it would be nothing traditional.

Achievements in Learning: A Focus on Transformational Learning for the Inaugural ACHS Assessment Leadership Council

ACHS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Tiffany Rodriguez launched the ACHS Assessment Leadership Council (ALC) in 2022, to develop assessment champions among our faculty and staff. The inaugural cohort completed their first year of training in 2023, culminating in an Assessment Showcase event

Inaugural Cohort of the ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health Welcomes New Students

In Fall 2023, ACHS launched its first cohort of the new Doctor of Science in Integrative Health (DSc) with 29 students pursuing pathways to advance the integrative health and wellness field. A comprehensive integrative health doctorate designed to be completed in three years, the ACHS DSc offers specializations in functional nutrition, herbal medicine, and aromatherapy, and is the nation’s first doctorate degree with a specialization in aromatherapy. This degree empowers practitioners, healthcare professionals, researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs to make a lasting impact on their communities and transform healthcare practices. 


Commitment to Our Mission: Leading the Advancement of Evidence-Based, Integrative Health and Wellness Education

deacIn our continuous pursuit of excellence, ACHS proudly achieved 5-year DEAC reaccreditation, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to institutional improvement, student success, and the fulfillment of our mission. The process of accreditation gives us the opportunity to illustrate all the ways we are dedicated to providing evidence-based, integrative health and wellness education. 

Celebrating Our Graduates

In June 2023, 32 graduates joined us at the World Forestry Center in Portland to celebrate their graduation, joined by 90 friends and family. We also celebrated with hundreds of graduates and their supporters via live stream. The Commencement Ceremony is a time to celebrate the culmination of students' hard work and perseverance and the tremendous work they are already doing in their communities. 


There are so many highlights from 2023 that we could share with you. We are most proud of our students and graduates and their commitment to learning, helping others, and working to shape a better future for us all. Thank you to our entire community for embracing the ACHS mission and striving for a future where there is a sustainable and health future for all! 


As we get ready to ring in the new year, reflect on the experience and achievements you want to take with you into 2024 and consider what you might want to leave behind so you will THRIVE in 2024!

What will you set your sights on for 2024?

Tracey Abell, ACHS President

Written By: Tracey Abell, ACHS President

Tracey has always had a passion for natural health and joined American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2002. Tracey has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Master of Science in Education, specializing in Leadership in Higher Education from Capella University. She also studied massage therapy at East West College of Healing Arts and aromatherapy at ACHS. Tracey serves on the Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and as a DEAC accreditation standards evaluator, specializing in Business Standards and Title IV requirements. She is a former board member of the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Tracey enjoys travel and has spent time throughout Europe and in Thailand, Australia, and India. She loves spending time in her garden and exploring the beautiful Pacific NW and beyond!