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Apr 24, 2019 3:00:00 PM | achs graduates Laura Bissessar, Herbal Entrepreneur |

Laura Bissessar attends ACHS to learn herbalism, opening her mind to areas of healthcare she was not aware of– she finds working with herbs fascinating.

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Laura Bissessar, a freelance make-up artist from Pompano Beach, Florida, says she decided to change careers because people she knew and loved often suffered with health issues due to lack of good nutrition. “I could offer advice but without credentials, advice is simply that. I wanted to be able to help people incorporate holistic based wellness and nutrition into their lifestyles.  When I found the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS), I knew I’d found the avenue to achieve my dream,” says Laura.

“The admissions team at ACHS really helped with all of my questions. Online education makes it possible to continue my work and normal life which includes helping my husband manage his carpentry business,” she says.  Laura was able to transfer 15 credits toward her Associate of Applied Science in Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (AAS).

Laura tells us that the education she is receiving at ACHS is beyond anything she’d hoped for and there is always someone to talk to and discuss questions with.  As a first-time experience with distance education, it is working well for her and changing her life in amazing positive ways.

“I met Dorene Petersen, Founder and President, Kate Harmon, Chief Marketing Officer, and Charli Hislop, VP of Academic Affairs of ACHS at the DEAC Conference in April and was so impressed with the warmth and dedication of these leaders.  Like my professors, they clearly care about the students and the education we receive,” says Laura.

Learning herbalism opened her mind to areas of healthcare she was not aware of before and she finds working with essential oils and herbs fascinating. “As I’m learning how it all works together, I just can’t get enough and continue to want to learn more. Short-term I want to help others through teaching and long-term I want to continue my education to become a registered herbalist. This experience has truly become a part of my life and the herbs and oils are now alive for me,” she says. 

Laura's progress can be followed at and on Instagram at @sawdustlaura

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About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS-Building-ExteriorFounded in 1978, is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. 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 integrative health. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also 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). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 16% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit

Judy Starr

Written By: Judy Starr

Judy Starr, VP of External Relations at American College of Healthcare Sciences, has more than 25 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations and brings her expertise in marketing and communications to ACHS. She has raised millions of dollars during her career through her work with major gift donors, foundation grant writing and corporate relations. Judy is a vegan who seeks to inspire others with her passion for organic unprocessed foods. As a licensed esthetician for 28 years, she has served at day spas and at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Aguada, Puerto Rico, where she taught skin care classes and provided skin care and Reiki treatments. Through her unique career journey, she has learned the value of choosing pure unadulterated natural ingredients for customized skincare regimens. Her niche spa experience gives her a unique perspective and platform to share industry-specific knowledge in the realm of natural skin care, body care and holistic wellness. Judy has been a Reiki master for 20 years.