Meet the faculty.
The faculty at the American Āyurvedic Academy bring unique perspectives and experience into the classroom.
Jessica Vellela, BAMS
Chairman, Director & Instructor
Born, raised and educated in Boston, MA, Jessica Vellela became an Āyurvedic Physician and practiced independently in India. Graduating at the top of her final year class with the Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery degree (Āyurveda Āchārya) in 2012, she immediately opened and managed her own Pañchakarma center in India at Turtle Bay Resorts in southwest Karnataka state. For two years, she received patients from all over the world for traditional Pañchakarma, educational programs, Rasāyana (regeneration and restoration) and outpatient care. Working closely with the local community, she personally trained five Pañchakarma therapists and employed additional support staff. Due to unfortunate and unexpected events at the resort, she decided to close the center and return to the US to pursue her professional career. In 2014 and 2015, she attempted to recreate a traditional Pañchakarma center in the peaceful foothills of North Carolina, but quickly realized that the infrastructure in the US was not conducive. While living in Southern California in 2016, she taught clinical classes and managed patients at the Southern California University of Health Sciences in the Ayurveda Department. Jessica has been practicing and teaching Āyurveda for general and professional audiences since 2011 and now works diligently to establish authentic Āyurveda in the US founded on classical core principles and appropriate for the current time, place and people.
No stranger to rigorous education, Jessica is a National Honor Society alumna of Boston Latin School and a self-made Data Architect with a 15+ year career. Drawing from her wide skillset, she is integrating current technology to bring Āyurvedic education and practice to the modern world.
Bringing this unique combination of skills and perspective to the classroom, Jessica provides students with an unparalleled foundation in their professional Āyurvedic studies and prepares them for success and advancement of Āyurveda in the coming decades. Jessica is currently the primary instructor for all subjects at the 110-level and above at the American Āyurvedic Academy and co-instructs AYU-101, Foundations for the study of professional Āyurveda, with Linda Rowe and Melissa Camacho.
Linda Rowe, MA, BA
Instructor - AYU-101: Foundations for the study of professional Āyurveda
Linda Rowe is a seasoned expert in tactful communication, languages, expression and personal health. She completed her undergraduate in Speech Communication and Master of Arts in Professional Higher Education Administration. She then spent several years counseling students and training staff in SUNY, New Paltz, NY, and the University of Hartford, CT, where she gained knowledge and experience into understanding human learning behaviors and techniques to support and improve them. Continuing her education through non-traditional formats allowed her to expand and apply this knowledge practically through Yoga and Āyurveda. For over 20 years, she has developed these practices into the Mindful Based Stress Reductions techniques which have helped her clients learn to live healthier and happier lives.
Linda brings this skillfully harmonized blend of communication abilities and subtle developmental training into the classroom to help students start the program successfully by improving study skills, time management and professional behavior. She weaves these lessons into the introduction to Āyurveda, languages of Āyurveda, Āyurvedic history and professional communication to help lay a solid foundation in essential knowledge for successful practice.
Linda is a primary instructor for the summer semester of the American Āyurvedic Health Counselor (Svastha Āchārya) Training Program.
Melissa Camacho, MSOM, LAc, BA, CAP
Instructor - AYU-101: Foundations for the study of professional Āyurveda
Melissa Camacho is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate of Oriental Medicine and Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. She was exposed to complementary medicine in 2001 after completing her BA in English. Through a combination of training and experience in Āyurvedic cooking, Yoga and ancillary subjects, she gained deeper insight, passion and inquiry that prompted her to continue higher studies.
In 2005, she studied Āyurveda with Dr. Vasant Lad of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Upon graduating from the second year of the program, she began her clinical practice and taught workshops on the subject in Arizona and New Mexico.
Melissa's love for natural medicine blossomed further in 2008 when she began studying acupuncture, moxabustion, and Chinese herbs at Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, NM. Her knowledge of elemental medicine, herbs, and wealth of clinical experience allowed her to achieve a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine in 2011 and paved the way to studying Chinese Medicine in China at Heilongjing University of Chinese Medicine. She currently practices Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture in Sedona, AZ and teaches workshops on Āyurveda and Oriental Medicine.
Melissa brings a wealth of diverse knowledge, clinical and practical experience to the classroom to help students gain deeper insight and understanding in the essential foundations for complementary and alternative practice. She co-instructs topics including human anatomy and physiology for Āyurveda, the introduction to Āyurveda, and understanding Āyurveda as a developing profession in the context of the US healthcare system and its culture.
Melissa is a primary instructor for the summer semester of the American Āyurvedic Health Counselor (Svastha Āchārya) Training Program.
Prasanth Dharmarajan, PhD (Ayu)
Prasanth Dharmarajan is one of the leading experts on Pañchakarma in India today. He was selected as the Assistant Professor in the Pañchakarma department at All India Institute of Āyurveda in 2016 as one of the earliest staff members. He designed and developed the department to handle hundreds of patients per day, created the first national standards for Pañchakarma Technician training in India and manages post-graduate and PhD students at the Institute. In 2015 he completed his PhD in Pañchakarma from the Institute for Post-Graduate Teaching and Research in Jamnagar and became the first Āyurvedic Physician from the state of Kerala to achieve this super-specialty. He has received numerous awards, published over 25 scientific articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals, contributed to 3 textbooks and presented over 100 papers.
He previously served in the Department of Integrative Medical Studies at the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and its School of Āyurveda, in Kerala. Dr. Prasanth manages exceptionally challenging and often incurable medical cases for patients who seek him out from every corner of India and from around the world. During his Post-Graduate and PhD studies, he directed and taught several of the country’s most highly respected educational programs for international students, including Western doctors and medical personnel.
Prasanth provides direction, guidance and recommendations on the career tracks, course structure and curriculum at the American Ayurvedic Academy.