Our Wellness Retreat Team
Your Personal Team of Health Experts
Our holistic retreats team is comprised of leading professionals in their respective fields. The health experts who will serve you include:
- Naturopathic doctors
- Exercise physiologists and certified personal trainers
- Strength & Conditioning Specialist
- Psychologists specializing in behavioral science
- Lifestyle wellness coaches
- A network of alternative holistic medical professionals
This diverse and experienced team uses its extensive experience in treating all aspects of health to help you achieve the best results possible.
Dr. Derek Lawrence: Director of Naturopathic MedicineDr. Derek is a licensed naturopathic doctor and the owner of his own private medical practice that specializes in using 100% natural therapies to treat illness, prevent disease, and promote health and vitality. At VeraVia, Dr. Derek builds respectful, therapeutic relationships with clients that motivate, empower, and inspire them to regain control of their health. He specializes in wellness, detoxification, and natural foot care and treats a variety of conditions, including chronic pain and disease, weight gain, musculoskeletal injuries, endocrine imbalances, and digestive disorders.Read More
While undergoing training at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) to become a primary care doctor, he completed a one-year internship with internationally renowned Dr. Dickson Thom DDS, ND, focusing on the non-pharmaceutical treatment of acute and chronic disease with an emphasis on the use of biotherapeutic drainage. Dr. Derek also completed a six-month internship in cardiopulmonary medicine with naturopathic cardiologist, Dr. Martin Milner, ND. Furthermore, Dr. Derek practiced the natural reversal of common foot ailments under the guidance of Dr. Ray McClanahan, DPM, a podiatrist and natural foot health enthusiast.
Dr. Derek received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) from NCNM in Portland, Oregon and his Bachelors of Science (BSc) in Biology from the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Canada.
Natasha Edwina: Behavioral Health Specialist
Natasha is a behavioral health coach, psychotherapist, mind-body medicine practitioner, speaker, and author interested in helping individuals explore their potential, maximize their strengths, and manifest their dreams into reality. Natasha has nearly 20 years experience working in the mental health field, 10 of those serving in the public school system. It was in the public schools that Natasha learned flexibility and creativity to meet the needs of a system with multiple layers of stress, and perfected her truly integrative mind-body-spirit approach to helping clients efficiently and effectively achieve goals and achieve health.Read More
Natasha is an advisor to the board for the local non-profit yoga foundation for at-risk kids, The Sean O'Shea Foundation. Natasha has extensive experience working with trauma, has healed from her own, and loves to teach others how their post-traumatic growth can actually give them an advantage in becoming successful.
Natasha has worked with celebrities, CEOs of successful companies, highly stressed entrepreneurs, creative types, highly sensitive individuals, and specializes in working with ambitious movers and shakers.
Natasha is working on a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine, Specializing in Integrative Mental Health from Saybrook University (2013-current). She also has certifications in Clinical Hypnosis - Saybrook University (2014-current), Mind-Body Medicine - The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (2009-current), Mindful Change coaching, and is a Certified Sanoviv Nutrition Advisor - Level One and Level Two. Natasha also holds CA Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC49988; has 1 Year Post-Graduate Training in Bioenergetics (Somatic Relational Psychology) and 2 Years Post-Graduate Training in Bowen Family Systems Theory. She holds a Master of Arts, Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University in San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Spanish from University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
Dr. Megan Lewis: Director of Behavioral HealthDr. Megan Lewis is our Director of Behavioral Health. Dr. Lewis brings a breadth of knowledge and over 18 years of clinical experience in the field of psychology and behavioral health. In addition to her more than ten years of experience in private practice, she has worked as an Adjunct Professor at Alliant International University and as a consulting psychologist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, a detention facility, and a residential substance abuse program. She specializes in mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. She has helped countless individuals overcome their struggles with obesity, food addiction and emotional eating patterns.Read More
Dr. Lewis is extremely attuned to, and cognizant of the mind-body connection and the inseparable marriage between an individual’s emotional and physical health. She will help you to achieve your personal weight loss, health and fitness goals, develop strategies to more effectively cope with stress, and modulate emotion to lead you to a healthier and more satisfying life.
Dr. Lewis holds a California Psychologist License PSY 18875 and a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University, San Diego. She has a Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology from Alliant International University, San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology from University of California, San Diego.
Marc McKellar: Director of FitnessMarc’s love for fitness and sports materialized at a very early age when he played soccer as a young American living in Europe. Since his days on the field as a professional soccer player, he has changed his focus and has participated competitively in over 200 triathlons and adventure races around the world. “I understand that fitness and wellness goals need to adjust as you grow older, however, I have also discovered that the passion and the confidence that we have in ourselves and our abilities does not need to dissipate. Being outdoors and in a healthy body, mind and spirit is one of the most important parts of my life and it is something that I love sharing with others.”Read More
In his 27 years of teaching, coaching and training, his goal has always been to make every individual feel comfortable and inspired - in every stage of life. Marc has worked with thousands of private clients, professional athletes, and two Olympic gold medalists. Some of his greatest achievements have been working with those who have overcome the most difficult obstacles, including physical trauma, physical limitations and the all-to-prevalent lack of self-confidence.
Marc holds a B.S. in Exercise Science, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Natural Running Coach (CNRC), Polar Heart Rate Performance Specialist (NESTA), Aqualogix Certified Water Instructor (ACWI), ACSM Professional Alliance Member, Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and Professional Running Coach.
Cat Dillon, RHN, FDN: Director of NutritionCat Dillon, RHN, (Registered Holistic Nutritionist), FDN (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner), Certified First Line Therapy Practitioner, and Certified Transformational Wellness Coach, assists wellness seekers through co-mingling of food as medicine, holistic lifestyle principles and transformational coaching. At VeraVia, Cat teaches tangible steps to transform unsuccessful attempts at improving and maintaining health, into an empowering nutrition and self-care program that gives energy, focus and well-being for life.Read More
Cat helps motivate and educate clients at any level of change, so they can become familiar with listening to their bodies' innate wisdom. By doing so, they can facilitate their own healing and receive their desired results. She has helped clients suffering from weight loss resistance, sugar and carb cravings, allergies, immune system imbalance, digestive difficulties, anxiety/depression, insomnia, metabolic disorders, and many others.
Having been a fitness instructor while studying nutrition at SFSU, Cat experienced a world of obsessive calorie counting; where food was feared instead of revered. She then began her whole-hearted quest merging the concept of healthy habits around food with the utmost nutrition, flavor and sensory pleasures of real food. Upon graduating, she enrolled and graduated from Vancouver’s Dubrulle Culinary Arts, where she followed her dream of becoming a chef. Cat spent the next 15 years cooking at some of San Diego’s most lavish residences and top name restaurants. Cat’s passion for cooking expanded as she continued her study at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, receiving her (RHN) registered holistic nutritionist designation.
Cat's passion for health doesn't stop at nutrition. She has competed for years in triathlon and running events. Her loves are her husband and two rescue dogs, Mochi and Minnie.
Tish Gehringer: Certified Personal TrainerTish received her personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a Foundation Training Level I Instructor and gained certification in TRX, Kettlebell, Gravity, and Keiser Cycling. Tish has also completed CPR and First Aid certifications.Read More
While Tish is well versed in a variety of personal training techniques, she specializes in Foundation Training which focuses on Posture, Balance and Strength. She also concentrates on TRX Suspension, Gravity Training and Balance BOSU Training.
She has developed a well-rounded health and fitness philosophy over her career as a trainer. Tish admits that she spent much of her 20’s and 30’s “killing it” as an instructor and triathlete and then realized her body was trying to send her signals. She discovered that her balance was gone. She had over trained and ignored so many other aspects of her wellness that she had to take a huge step back. From that point on she focused on creating a more complete wellness approach that will take her well into her 80’s. Tish hopes to help others, even the most extreme athletes, understand the importance of “balance” and how we can still achieve our goals while taking time to focus on the importance of a balanced life and healthy body.
Travis Armbruster: Certified Personal TrainerTravis has been a fitness professional for 8 years and is certified in ACE and NASM education programs. He specializes in balancing, strengthening, and improving flexibility through a variety of modalities. Travis utilizes specific techniques, like Rossiter, to help clients find fast pain relief and to assure long-term pain relief.Read More
Ashley Wynn: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness InstructorAshley is a certified Kundalini Yoga and Mindful Meditation instructor. She is certified through the Kundalini Research Institute, is a teacher and long-time practitioner of Vipassana, or Mindful Meditation, and is a member of the Yoga Alliance. Ashley is committed to helping those who are seeking better health, relaxation, stress reduction, and greater focus.Read More
Ashley has worked with individuals and groups to teach a variety of mindfulness meditation practices. She has worked with those in recovery programs for drug and alcohol addictions as well as eating disorders and self-esteem issues. Ashley also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UCLA.
Holly Richelle: Yoga InstructorHolly began practicing yoga in 2001 at the conclusion of a lifelong dance career. She came to yoga seeking the body awareness and joy of movement she had experienced as a dancer. Although the fluid movements on vinyasa / flow-style yoga were a natural transition from dance, she has studied many lineages and traditions of yoga over the last 13 years. Her studies in yoga have been a revolution in her life and overall wellbeing, a gift that she is passionate about sharing with her students.Read More
Lisa-Anne French: NIA/Pilates InstructorLisa-Anne is a Certified Nia Black Belt, a Certified Nia 5-Stages Teacher, and Certified Mat, Standing and Reformer Pilates Practitioner. She received her Nia training through The Nia Technique in Portland Oregon. She received her Mat and Standing Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York City, and her Reformer Pilates training through Balancepoint Pilates. After many years of studying and performing Jazz, Funk and Modern dance in Europe, Asia and the US, Lisa-Anne found the perfect home for her mind, body and spirit in the teaching and practice of Nia and Pilates.Read More
Mark Haskins, L.Ac., Ma.O.M.:Mark is the licensed acupuncturist at VeraVia and is available for individual sessions. He provides acupuncture, deep bodywork, herbal medicine, and energy medicine.Read More
Dr. Paul Paez, D.C.: ChiropractorDr. Paul has over 15 years of experience and his form of patient care has made him one of the top chiropractors in the nation. He uses an advanced technique that he developed to help his patients with spinal care and nervous system restoration. Dr. Paul is available for individual sessions at VeraVia. His specialities also include low-force adjustment for the elderly and he is certified in the Webster Technique, an advanced adjustment system focusing on spinal alignment for pregnant women.Read More
Steve Halverson: Tennis Director at AviaraThe Tennis Director at Aviara, Steve Halverson, has been a member of Peter Burwash International for over 36 years, and he is currently in charge of their international wheelchair player program. Steve joined Aviara in 1997. He is able to teach tennis in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Indonesian. Steve also has experience teaching and playing tennis in over 50 countries.Read More
He specializes in teaching the individual and strives to make tennis fun for players with varying skill levels. At Aviara, Steve teaches group and individual tennis classes.
Adrienne Penney: Client Coordinator & Special OperationsAdrienne is the Senior Client Coordinator and handles all special operation tasks at VeraVia. By combining her love of science and working with people, Adrienne facilitates health programs within the office and arranges outings for VeraVia guests. Prior to VeraVia, Adrienne worked at a forensic toxicology lab as a lab assistant and in furniture sales at the Chapman Collection, where she met CEO and Founder Wyatt Chapman, as well as Co-Founder and Vice President Melissa Chapman. Adrienne has completed senior research on neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Corticobasal Degeneration, determining the effects of toxin accumulation on the human mind and body. Specifically, she studied the important role of antioxidants and vitamins in cell detoxification.Read More
Adrienne earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) with a major in Biology and minor in Neuroscience from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Joyce Macalma: Client CoordinatorJoyce Macalma is our client coordinator. Prior to her joining the VeraVia team, she worked closely with Melissa Chapman at The Chapman Collection for some time. She assists Adrienne in facilitating daily activities for the guests, as well as overseeing outings. She is currently earning her degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University.Read More
She uses her education and training to ensure all guest arrivals run smoothly and to accommodate the needs of each guest. Her goal is to create a friendly environment and to make sure everyone’s stay here at VeraVia is pleasant whilst they partake in their true path to wellness!
Melissa Chapman: Vice President & Co-FounderMelissa is the Co-Founder and Vice President of VeraVia, working with the team to change lives and help individuals find their true path to wellness. Melissa epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit; starting her own business at the age of 19, managing several national and international real estate holdings, and operating an antiques and fine furniture gallery in downtown San Diego. Despite her hard working attitude, Melissa empathizes with those who struggle to balance a full-time career and parenthood. She understands how life’s stresses can often lead to overeating, poor diet choices, and replacing working out with simply working. Melissa can relate to these challenges, especially having spoken the language of weight loss herself. In fact, it was this constant struggle of work, life integration that led Melissa to co-found VeraVia with her husband Wyatt. She wanted to be able to provide clients a one-stop, all-inclusive luxury place, where they can truly go to get healthy and really commit to their True Path of Health and Wellness once and for all!Read More
Melissa was born in Australia and attended Sydney Girls Grammar Boarding School. After graduating at 17, she moved to London with her family and attended the prestigious London School of Economics. With a diverse heritage of half English and half Persian, she has always had a love for other cultures and traveling. Yet, San Diego holds a special place in her heart as “home,” where she lives with her husband (VeraVia Co-Founder: Wyatt Chapman) and her two young boys, Blake and Dalton.
Wyatt Chapman: CEO & Co-FounderAs the CEO and Co-Founder, Wyatt embodies VeraVia’s comprehensive mind, body and spirit approach to health. He understands the importance of discovering the relationship among one’s internal elements (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and mastering them to achieve the highest self, allowing for true success and an optimal life experience. Prior to starting VeraVia, Wyatt served as President and Principal Architect of award-winning design firm. During his time, he led the cutting-edge sustainable design and construction of numerous large-scale projects, including recreation and fitness facilities, comprehensive physical and mental wellness facilities, and rehabilitation centers.Read More
While finding success in the design and architecture industry, Wyatt’s health, energy, productivity, and personal life suffered, leading to unhealthy eating and a decrease in physical activity. During his internal struggle, Wyatt discovered the importance of building an environmental and personal balance that promotes optimal happiness, productivity, and quality of life. From this experience, the idea of VeraVia was born and became the tool for individuals to succeed in the pursuit of wellness.
Beth Almario: VeraVia-Aviara LiaisonBeth coordinates all activities between VeraVia and the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Spa and acts as a liaison to ensure a completely seamless experience for VeraVia guests. As a member of the Park Hyatt Aviara food and beverage team for the past six years, she brings her in-depth five-star resort experience to our team. Beth enjoys working with guests to ensure they have an enjoyable and comfortable stay beyond expectations. Beth received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from CSU Sacramento.Read More