2009 is the college’s 20th anniversary of starting operations in Oregon. 

April 30, 2009–Portland, OR–Australasian College of Health Sciences announced today that, effective May 1, it will change its name to American College of Healthcare Sciences to celebrate its 20th year of operations in the United States.

“To celebrate this history, the college has voted to change its name to reflect its geographical location more accurately and to represent our exciting new plans in the U.S. in the next five years and beyond,”
said Senior Vice President Erika Yigzaw.

Australasia is the geographical region of Australia, New Zealand and the lower South Pacific. ACHS was founded in New Zealand in 1978, after splitting off as the extra mural (or distance learning) department of the South Pacific College of Natural Therapeutics.

ACHS opened its U.S. office in Lake Oswego in 1989 and became a stand-alone institution in 1993. It became a State Licensed Vocational School in 1998 and transitioned to a degree granting Institute of Higher Learning in 2007. It earned accreditation from the DETC in 2002 and was reaccredited in 2008.

“As Australasian College of Health Sciences, we have changed the face of healthcare education in the US, achieving many industry firsts, including first aromatherapy distance learning programs, first CAM degrees, first online CAM programs, and many more. We have been very attached to the name Australasian and will be sad to say goodbye,” said ACHS President and Founder Dorene Petersen, “but in creating our Strategic Plan for 2009 we realized that the name no longer represents the school or our future plans. This name change reflects our thanks to the thousands of American based students and graduates of ACHS who have joined us for their health and wellness education journey.”

Another factor in this decision was market research conducted at a number of trade shows this past year which indicated 98 percent of visitors thought the school was in Australia.

“We realized this was an issue for students and graduates. We do not want any confusion about the school’s location, approvals, or the training of its instructors as our graduates move into their careers,” said Erika Yigzaw.  “Although the name Australasian College had extremely high recognition in the holistic health industry early on, as the CAM industry exploded in popularity and continues to move into the mainstream, name association is increasingly important for our students and graduates.”

Various funding options are available including in-house financing, veterans funding, post-911 GI bill, and private student loans. ACHS’s participation in SOC and other military organizations also precipitated this change.

“We had feedback from our military students and graduates that they were having to explain that they were attending an American college to their clients, friends, and family,” said ACHS Military Liason Kate Harmon.

Founded in 1978, ACHS is one of the oldest institutions teaching holistic health, otherwise known as CAM or Complementary Alternative Medicine and offers the only accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in CAM offered fully online.

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