Our Staff

Meet the dedicated Speech-Language Pathologists of the iTAWC team:

Alisa Ferdinandi, Consultant Speech-Language Pathologist & iTAWC Lead Clinician

  • Master of Science, Speech-Language Pathology, University of British Columbia
  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, McGill University

Alisa is the lead clinician and driving force behind iTAWC, rallying our entire team with her boundless energy and gentle nature!  She loves interacting with people and believes that communication is what connects us with others and enhances our quality of life.  Alisa is a 15-year veteran of the field and has spent most of her career providing community-based rehabilitation for adults who have communication difficulties as a result of stroke or brain injury.

Working with people with aphasia is Alisa’s particular passion and she has carved a specialty in this area, running not only iTAWC but also two “social participation” group programs for people with chronic aphasia.  Alisa is also an active and popular clinical instructor, training as many as eight speech pathology student interns each year.

Wendy Duke, Speech-Language Pathologist, Director & Administrative Lead for iTAWC

Wendy Duke, the founder and Director of Columbia Speech and Language Services Inc, has assisted Alisa Ferdinandi in the development of iTAWC from the outset and shares Alisa’s passion for this work.  Wendy is a 34-year veteran of speech-language pathology and has worked with people with aphasia in acute care, rehabilitation, extended care and in the community.  In addition, she has been active in clinical teaching for 30 years, holding the rank of Clinical Assistant Professor in the UBC School of Audiology and Speech Sciences where she is also a sessional instructor, teaching students about acquired language disorders including aphasia.  She is not only committed to her clients but also to her students;  she feels strongly that new graduates entering speech-language pathology need more practical experience getting to know people with aphasia and is pleased to be able to provide experiences that are as rewarding to her students as they are to her clients.

iTAWC is the second of three aphasia treatment projects developed collaboratively by Alisa and Wendy at Columbia Speech and Language Services Inc.  They also developed a long running group program for people with chronic aphasia which is funded by the Fraser Health Authority Acquired Brain Injury Program and is free to eligible residents of the Fraser Health Region of British Columbia, as well as a new group program that is run in partnership with the Semiahmoo House Society Brain Injury Program.

Michelle Harris, Consultant Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Master of Science, Speech-Language Pathology, University of British Columbia
  • Bachelor of Arts, Linguistics & Psychology, Simon Fraser University

Michelle is passionate about building meaningful relationships with her clients and their family, providing treatment that focuses on increasing life participation, and continually growing in a profession that is so broad and diverse! She has experience working with a wide range of adults with aphasia, as she previously led our Aphasia conversation group here at Columbia. Michelle works part-time and she is truly an amazing asset to our team.

KaKarenren Salamon, Consultant Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Master of Science, Speech-Language Pathology, San Francisco State University
  • Bachelor of Arts, English Linguistics and French Literature, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Karen brings an amazing breadth and depth of experience to iTAWC, having worked with adults with aphasia at Columbia Speech and Language Services Inc. for over ten years after previous clinical work as an SLP in the US, Israel and Europe.  We are very grateful for the broad perspective and experience she brings to the iTAWC team!  She loves her hands-on work with clients and their families as well as her clinical teaching with UBC speech and language interns. Karen always maintains a “focus on function” in her approach to aphasia treatment and her clients benefit from both her practical nature and her passion.  She is happy to be returning to iTAWC this year and we are happy to have her back.

Jeness Cossette, Consultant Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Master of Clinical Science, Speech-Language Pathology, Western University
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours, Applied Linguistics, University of Victoria

Jeness believes that speech-language therapy should be functional and collaborative, in order to help individuals meet their goals and succeed in communicating in all contexts that are important to them. According to Jeness,  speech-Language pathology is the ideal area where her “interest in language and passion for helping others intersect.”  As is the case with our entire team, she joined iTAWC because she loves the opportunity it provides her to work intensively and closely with clients during their recovery.

Jessica Barclay, Consultant Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, University of British Columbia
  • Bachelor of Human Kinetics in Health Science & Kinesiology, University of British Columbia

Jessica was inspired to focus her studies on speech-language pathology after volunteering with a person with aphasia in an outpatient rehabilitation program. She enjoys connecting with her clients and their family members through her positive and patient demeanor. She believes that we all have individual strengths that can be harnessed to support areas of need. She uses this philosophy while she works with clients across the lifespan with a unique range of communication needs. The positive impact of speech and language therapy on overall life participation and satisfaction, for people of all ages and ability levels, continues to motivate her.

Combined, our team has close to a century of experience providing aphasia therapy and an unparalleled passion for our work.  We look forward to working with you!