Our Wellness Retreat Team
Your Personal Team of Health Experts
During your stay at VeraVia, you’ll have a fully integrated multidisciplinary team of health and wellness experts working together to help you achieve your goals. As your personal support team, we’ll help you connect the dots, to make necessary correlations between symptoms, struggles, or past experiences and solutions so you can create lasting changes.
Our holistic retreats team is comprised of leading professionals in their respective fields. The health experts who will serve you include:
- Naturopathic Doctors
- Functional Medical Doctors
- Certified Personal Trainers and Strength and Conditioning Specialists
- Integrative Nutritionists
- Psychologists specializing in Behavioral Science
- Mind-Body Integrative Health Specialists
- Pain and Posture Therapy Specialists
- Holistic Health Practitioners
- 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.
Wyatt Chapman: CEO & FounderAs the CEO and 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 architectural design firm. During his time, he led the cutting-edge sustainable design and construction of numerous large-scale projects across the country, including recreation and fitness facilities, comprehensive physical and mental wellness facilities, rehabilitation centers, dormitories, aircraft hangars and maintenance facilities, and more.Read More
While finding "success" professionally, Wyatt’s health, energy, productivity, and personal life suffered. Chronic stress and working seven days a week led to poor sleep habits, chronic back pain, unhealthy eating, and the inability to exercise. Traditional doctors only offered prescribing drugs to mask the symptoms, rather than treat the underlying cause of his health issues. This eventually led to struggles with anxiety and depression. During his internal struggle, Wyatt discovered the importance of building an environmental and personal balance that promotes optimal happiness, productivity, and quality of life. He realized that in order to have true lasting health, you must treat all aspects that makeup a persons wellness including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. From this experience, the idea of VeraVia was born and became the tool for individuals to succeed in the pursuit of wellness.
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.
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.
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.
Joana Guest: Director of Fitness, Certified Personal TrainerJoana has been in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years, and specializes in leading group exercise classes and personal training. An avid runner and mother of three she values the importance of balancing a healthy lifestyle and family. Joana specializes in posture analysis, corrective exercise, fat loss, and functional training. She is committed to educate, motivate, and inspire others to live a healthier, stronger life. As the Director of Fitness Joana oversees the entire guests fitness experience, beginning even before their arrival to coordinating their fitness component during their stay with the other VeraVia team members, and following up with guests after their stay to help ensure a smooth transition back into their normal routine.Read More
Joana holds professional certifications in: National Academy of Sports Medicine, Certified Personal Trainer; National Council on Strength and Fitness, Certified Personal Trainer; Aquatic Exercise Association, Certified Aquatic Instructor; Certification in Applied Functional Science: Gray Institute.
Adrienne Penney: Senior Program Advisor & Reservation SpecialistAdrienne is the Senior Program Advisor and Reservation Specialist as well as being responsible for some of the day to day operational activities. 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. 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. At VeraVia she is able to combine her love of science and biology with her love for helping people. Adrienne earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) with a major in Biology and minor in Neuroscience from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA.
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. Brian Myers: Naturopathic DoctorDr. Brian Myers is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor from the National University of Natural Medicine where he also served as class president and received an award for leadership. Following medical school, he ventured to Fairbanks, AK for residency prior to moving to southern California where he has resided since 2014. Dr. Myers comes from a family of healers – both his dad and sister are health care practitioners. He has been published twice, in the Journal of Pediatrics and the Annals of Neurology while part of a neonatal neurology research group in St. Louis, MO. When he isn’t in the clinic, he can be found cooking, backpacking, skiing (when the weather’s right), rock climbing, and enjoying live music and comedy.
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.
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.
Lisa-Anne French: Fitness InstructorLisa-Anne teaches a variety of fitness classes including Nia, Pilates, Aqua, Swimming, and Walking/Hiking. Lisa-Anne is a Certified Nia Black Belt, a Certified Nia 5-Stages Teacher, and Certified Pilates Practitioner. She received her Nia training through The Nia Technique in Portland Oregon. Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York City, Balancepoint Pilates and BASI Pilates. Lisa-Anne has been an avid athlete her whole life and has performed and danced all over the world. Before becoming a serious dancer, Lisa-Anne was a competitive swimmer, water polo player and soccer player. Lisa-Anne loves to walk and practiced Racewalking for many years.
Holly Richelle: Lead Yoga Instructor and Guided Meditation & Mindfulness 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 15 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. Holly is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) with Yoga Alliance. She is currently pursuing her advanced 500-hour certification at the Soul of Yoga Institute. She is also a certified Level II practitioner of Usui Reiki and a certified crystal bowl sound healing practitioner. She holds a Master’s Degree (MA) if Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University and Bachelor’s Degrees (BA) in English Literature and French Literature from the University of Virginia.Read More
She attended Sundara College at the Soul of Yoga Institute, where she received her Raja Yoga teaching certification in 2011. Her teachers included Nischala Joy Devi, Erich Schiffman, Max Strom, Shiva Rea, and she recently completed advanced trainings in Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff and Brian Dorfman.
Stephanie Zito: Yoga Instructor and Wellness Coach
Stephanie has worked in the personal development field for 20+ years. Stephanie found yoga 24 years ago as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa. She went on to study yoga in India, and certified as a Yoga + Meditation Instructor in 2009. Stephanie is a seasoned life coach and speaker, helping people gain clarity toward their life path, to break through mindset blocks and fears, and to clear blocks so they can move clearly toward their visions and goals. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She has worked in corporate team-building and leadership development, guiding groups in personal transformation through wilderness experiences such as backpacking, rock climbing, and kayaking throughout the Western US and Hawaii. At VeraVia Stephanie brings her varied expertise to our guests through yoga, guided meditation, assisting with guided hikes and offering wellness workshops on a variety of topics.
Katie Koniakowsky: Medical AssistantMedical Assistant to Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Myers in managing client care at VeraVia. Katie follows the guests journey through the program and coordinates all elements of their medical component with the doctors and the Guest Experience Coordinator. She performs medical “wrap-ups” with each guest in the Comprehensive program at the end of their stay to coordinate continuing care and discuss their customized take-home action plan. Katie is available to assist guests following their stay in organizing appointment scheduling for any continued care they wish to do with the doctor.
Judy Bird R.N.: Assistant Guest Experience CoordinatorJudy has over 25 years experience working in high-end luxury health and wellness resorts and spas in all areas, including senior level executive director of guest services experience. Judy is passionate about helping each guest to have the best experience possible during their stay and is known for her unparalleled level of service and her ability to being able to quickly assess a situation and formulate a resolution that exceeds the guest’s expectations. At VeraVia Judy is responsible for helping each guest with any and all of their day to day needs and requests.Read More
Prior to working in wellness resorts and spa's, Judy was an Emergency Room Nurse in downtown San Diego. She obtained her nursing degree from Newton-Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing, and was President of her class. In addition to being a Registered Nurse she is also a Healing Touch Practitioner and is involved in a number of different non-profit charitable organizations.
Adrian Van der Walt: Muscle Activation Techniques SpecialistAdrian has over 15 years of experience in Fitness and Performance Training.H e is a Certified NASM Performance Enhancement, MMA Conditioning, and Corrective Exercise Specialist. Along the way, he discovered (MAT) Muscle Activation Techniques, which is a revolutionary approach to strengthening and stabilizing the body. He received his MAT Specialist Certification in 2013.Read More
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) is a systematic approach to the assessment and correction of muscular imbalances in the human body. It is designed to balance the muscular system. Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) provides the tools to identify restrictions in motion and joint instability relating to muscle tightness and weakness. Through this systematic approach, Muscle Activation Techniques is used to jump start the muscle to increase maximum efficiency.
Dr. Paul Paez, D.C.: ChiropractorDr. Paul is a licensed, National Board Certified Doctor of Chiropractic and owner of his own private practice specializing in Brain-Based Posture Correction. Dr. Paul brings to VeraVia client’s a treatment to relieve pain, posture correction and valuable self-care instructions for continued at-home improvement. His unique approach incorporates the principles of chiropractic, massage and physical therapy. Common conditions relieved by Dr Paul’s approach includes pain of the neck, back, hip and shoulders.
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.
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.
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.