Faculty at the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences are highly trained in both traditional sciences and integrative health. This ensures that students receive a high quality education through the integration of traditional approaches to wellness and modern scientific evidence. Our highly trained academic faculty also participate in our clinical research team, further contributing to the body of knowledge in integrative health.

DR. JESSIE HAWKINS Research Director
Dr. Hawkins holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Health from Union Institute and University, a Master’s Degree in Health Education & Promotion from the University of Alabama, has additional post-graduate education in the field of epidemiology, and PhD in Health Research from Middle Tennessee State University, in addition to numerous certifications in a range of natural health fields including aromatherapy, aromatic medicine, herbalism, childbirth education, and labor support. She has been an integrative health professional for nearly 20 years and has written 8 popular books on natural health topics. She is the Director of both the school and the research team, and in addition to teaching our research classes, she travels the globe to present on our research.
CHRISTY HIRESAromatherapy Department Chair
Christy Hires is the Aromatherapy Department Chair and the Denver regional director for NAHA. She teaches advanced and onsite students in the aromatherapy program, in addition to teaching on our study abroad tours. She also manages a busy aromatherapy practice in Colorado. In addition to her aromatherapy certification and continuing education, she has completed educational programs in herbalism and holds a Bachelor’s Degree and expects to complete a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Alabama in 2019. She loves hiking and camping in the mountains near her Colorado home during the summer and snowshoeing those same mountains during the winter.
COLBY BAKERHerbalism Department Chair
Colby Baker is the Herbalism Department chair, and she teaches advanced students in FIW’s herbalism programs as well as on our study abroad tours. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Family & Consumer Science from Middle Tennessee State University and advanced certifications in herbalism, aromatherapy, and a diploma in culinary arts with an emphasis in baking and pastry. She enjoys herb gardening, exploring the native plants near her Tennessee home, and teaching her children about healthy habits using botanicals.
Dr. Debiasi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, a Bachelor’s in Nursing, a Master’s in Public Health, a Master’s in Nursing Practice, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. She holds licenses as a Registered Nurse and as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Her research publications include an emphasis on holistic health, ranging from projects to screen tools for assessing emotional wellbeing among children in Honduras orphanages to nutraceutical supplementation to support liver health. In addition to teaching at the FSIHS, Laura has been a professor at the University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Nursing since 2012.
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Nutrition from the University of Alabama and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and in addition to teaching public health nutrition, health promotion, epidemiology, and health behavior at FIW, she sees patients several days a week at the Huntsville Hospital Heart Failure Clinic. She is also an active member of the FIW research team, with research interests including dietary supplements, pediatric nutrition, health equity, and community health practices.
Sandra holds a degree in Applied & Pharmaceutical Science from the Waterford Institute of Technology, a diploma in Beauty Therapy from the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology, a Diploma in Aromatherapy from the Tara School of Integrative Therapy, and has completed advanced modules in Aromatology from the Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy. She worked as an analytical chemist at Servier Ireland Industries before deciding to fully dedicate her career to integrative health. In addition to teaching at the FSIHS, she maintains a professional practice in aromatherapy and complementary therapies in Southern Ireland.


Every faculty member at the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences is highly qualified, as evaluated through a combination of outcomes assessing educational attainment, specialized training, professional experience in the field, and success in mentorship and training. Faculty members must meet, at a minimum, the following requirements:

  • A college degree from an accredited institution recognized by the US Department of Education, or the international equivalent. Most of our professors have graduate degrees.
  • A recognized credential in the associated field of expertise.
  • A minimum of 3 years out of the last 7 years of professional experience in the field.

Recognizing that education and learning are lifelong experiences, the education and training of our faculty does not end with their own formal college experience. Each member of the academic department, including all faculty and department chairs, is required to earn continuing education on an annual basis.

This continuing education experience is different for each department, but may include activities such as attending annual conferences offered by researchers in the field, participating in research and discovery of new information in the field, and attending workshops or seminars given by researchers and experts in the field.


The Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences also relies on a supportive team of administrative staff to ensure student success. These individuals are here to support you every step of your journey, including post-graduation.

RACHEL LILLY, MBARegistrar & Compliance Director
Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Western Kentucky University and an MBA from Tennessee Tech. She oversees all of the legal compliance requirements to ensure that the FSIHS maintains all records as required by our postsecondary authorization. She oversees admissions, finalizes graduation requests, processes transcript needs, and ensures that all of the postsecondary authorization needs of the school are exceeded.
LINDSEY CHERRYAdmissions & Office Assistant
Lindsey holds an Associate’s Degree in Nutrition Science and is completing a
Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from Middle Tennessee State University in 2019. She assists students with the admissions process, coordinates class schedules for new students, and is an active member of the FIW research team. She schedules and manages both on-site and online FIW events, including our Quarterly Open House and our community workshops.
KATIE COXStudent Advisor
Katie is a key member of the student support staff and serves as the student advisor. She supports students through the entire process of admissions through continuing professional development after graduation. Katie makes recommendations on the best major for your unique goals, assists with course selection and planning, and is available to students for guidance throughout the program. She is also a trained aesthetician and reflexologist.
KIMBERLY NEELYSocial Media Coordinator
Kimberly oversees the FIW social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram by keeping followers up-to-date on the latest happenings at FIW. Her primary role is to communicate upcoming events, deadline reminders, and other announcements through each of these channels while also partnering with students and graduates to promote student-led events and graduate success stories.