Jessica Chacon, SLP

As a speech language pathologist, Jessica O’Neill is passionate about helping patients achieve their functional goals. She believes in personalized care for each patient and works to build relationships with each one.

Jessica earned her master’s degree in speech language pathology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. She specializes in swallowing difficulties (called dysphagia), speech, language and cognitive retraining. She works with adults who have a variety of diagnoses, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries and head and neck cancer.

A former collegiate soccer player, Jessica still enjoys playing soccer for fun. She also likes water activities, including kayaking and whitewater rafting. She and her husband enjoy traveling and cooking.

Sarah Jade Schmiedeknecht, M.S., CCC-SLP

As a speech pathologist, Sarah Jade Schmiedeknecht specializes in working with patients with a wide range of speech and swallowing disorders, including those with respiratory issues, head and neck cancer, TBI, stroke, and other neurological disorders. She has a passion for working with patient who are trach and/or ventilator dependent, helping them to find their voice.

Sarah Jade earned a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the Lead Acute Care Therapist at Adventist Health and plays an active role in creating initiatives to further the education of staff and others about swallowing and speech challenges associated with various disabilities.

Outside of work, Sarah Jade enjoys spending time with her husband and their pup exploring the Pacific Northwest. She is also an avid reader and loves listening to podcasts.

Emma Murray, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Emma Murray brings a passion for evidenced-based care to her work as a speech-language pathologist. Emma loves that medical speech language pathology is constantly evolving through new research. “Acute care is a wonderful setting for speech and swallowing because we have access to instrumentation, such as video fluoroscopy and fiberoptic endoscopy that help us with diagnosis.”

Helping patients with difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) is the primary focus of Emma’s practice but she also loves working with patients who have communication disorders. She values teaming with her patients and their families to better understand each person and their goals. Emma tries to utilize all the tools available in acute care to provide thorough assessment and treatment of patients. The main focus is to keep patients safe and healthy while in the hospital.

After completing her Bachelor of Science in speech and hearing at Portland State University, Emma headed to Pacific University for her master’s in speech, with a special interest and elective coursework in adult medical speech-language pathology. Before coming to Adventist, Emma worked as an inpatient therapist at Kaiser. She also trained at a long term acute care setting to gain experience working with patients with tracheostomies on ventilators. As a graduate clinician, she worked in a community based program that focused on keeping elders in the community. “I love working with older adults in the community and Adventist allows me to do that often.”

Outside of work, Emma loves to cook, bake and travel. She also hikes with her husband and dog, Archie. She enjoys watching new movies, while also spending a lot of time with her friends and family.

Karina Towers, SLP

As a speech pathologist, Karina Towers specializes in the assessment and management of swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), especially those with chronic lung conditions and people effected by dementia. Karina earned her master’s degree in speech language pathology from Hunter College, City University of New York in 2009. She has had a wide variety of work experiences that include skilled nursing rehabilitation, school-age pediatrics, long-term acute care and acute care hospitals.

A native of New York City, Karina leads an active lifestyle that includes hiking, backpacking, snowboarding and long road trips. She grew up in a multicultural household, speaks German fluently, and loves traveling across the globe to experience new cultures.

Amy Burkard, SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Amy Burkard has a passion for working with patients with voice, language, cognitive and swallowing disorders. She collaborates with patients and families to educate them about their conditions and to set treatment goals together. Her goal is to help patients find tools to unlock their potential and overcome limitations.

She is certified through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as a Speech-language Pathologist. She has aMaster's degree in communication disorders from San Francisco State University in California. She completed a traineeship at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs health care system.

Amy grew up in the Hawaiian Islands but loves the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest too. In her personal time, she enjoys travel, trying exotic cuisine and gardening.