TCRHCC Celebrates May Hearing & Speech Month
“Communication For All”

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) and the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) would like to present information about their Audiology and Speech Therapy departments. TCRHCC offers speech and language services in its Physical Rehabilitation Center (PRC), which is located in the Southeast corner of the TCRHCC campus. TCRHCC employs two full-time speech-language pathologists, Valerie Yazzie, MA, CCC-SLP and Cheryl Saganitso, MA, CCC-SLP.

Valerie is currently the PRC’s speech therapy/occupational therapy manager.  She has been a speech-language pathologist for 18 years, with experience in both hospital and school settings.  She has been employed with TCRHCC for 11 years.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences with a minor in Psychology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ and her Master of Science degree in Clinical Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.


Cheryl has been a speech-language pathologist for 14 years, with primary experience in school settings.  She has been employed with TCRHCC for 8 months.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in Speech and Hearing Sciences in Tempe, AZ and received her Master of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS in Clinical Speech-Language Pathology.

Both speech-language pathologists are full Navajo and graduated from Tuba City High School.

What is a speech-language pathologist?  They don’t only ‘help people speak better’.  A speech-language pathologist (SLPs) works to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.  Speech-language pathologists who work in healthcare settings are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).  “ASHA-certified SLPs are the only health care professionals specifically educated and prepared to evaluate and treat children and adults with speech, language, and swallowing problems.  ASHA-certified SLPs are the only health care professionals who possess either a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited program, complete a postgraduate clinical fellowship, and pass a national examination to receive their professional credential: the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.” ( 

Speech is a person’s ability to say sounds and words, which includes making speech sounds with the mouth, lips and tongue (articulation), how the voice is used (voice), and the rhythm of speech (fluency).

Language is a person’s ability to use words and manipulate those words to communicate. These include word meanings (semantics), manipulating words to change their meanings (semantics), putting words in order correctly (syntax), and determining how to say words in different settings (pragmatics).  Delays or difficulties in any of these areas, or combination of areas, can result in speech and/or language disorders.  With a referral obtained from a physician, a speech-language pathologist evaluates a patient, determines diagnosis, and treats the identified disorder (speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, and swallowing disorders), if there is one.

TCRHCC Speech Therapy: Outpatient & Inpatient Clinic Services
TCRHCC Speech-Language Pathologists are committed to assisting individuals achieve optimal communication and swallowing function.  A physician referral is required for all patients. Once you have a referral for a speech evaluation or therapy from your primary care doctor, we will schedule an appointment for you or your child’s evaluation with our speech-language pathologists.

Adult Speech-Language Services:

  • Adult speech,
  • communication,
  • voice, and
  • swallowing/feeding therapies primarily due to stroke, head injury, central nervous system diseases, and respiratory diseases.

Pediatric Speech-Language Services:

  • Pediatric speech,
  • communication and
  • swallowing/feeding therapies primarily due to language, articulation/phonology, cognitive-communication, swallow/feeding, and fluency disorders.

If you have any concerns, please see your primary care doctor to make a referral to our clinic.

TCRHCC Audiology
TCRHCC’s audiology department is located in the Main Hospital on the main level, across from the dental clinic.  The audiology department has a staff of two doctors of audiology, one audiology health technician, and one medical support assistant.  Doctors of audiology include Dr. Sherry Miller, and Dr. Susan Zimmerman. 

Dr. Miller is currently the Director of Audiology.  She has been a practicing audiologist for 22 years, with experience in hospital and private practice settings.  She has been employed with TCRHCC for over 7 years.  Dr. Miller received her Doctor of Audiology degree from The School of Audiology at Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University).
Dr. Zimmerman has been practicing audiology for over 20 years. She also has experience in clinical, industry, and retail environments, and has been employed with TCRHCC for 4 months. [Completed graduate work at University of Wisconsin, and received her Doctoral degree from A.T. Stills University in Phoenix, AZ]

What is an audiologist?  An audiologist is a hearing health care specialist who is trained, certified, and licensed to evaluate hearing and balance problems, make appropriate medical referrals & follow-up recommendations, and prescribe and fit hearing systems.  Today, a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D) degree is required to become a clinical audiologist.  Audiologists are licensed in all 50 states. 
There are approximately 15,000 practicing audiologists in the United States.  Audiologists work in a variety of different practice settings including private practice clinics, hospitals, military clinics, schools, universities and industrial settings. 

What exactly does an audiologist do?  Audiologists are trained and licensed to manage many areas of audiologic health care, including providing the following services:

  • Comprehensive audiologic evaluations of hearing sensitivity, speech understanding, middle ear function, inner ear & auditory nerve function for adult & pediatric populations
  • Diagnostic assessments to identify balance/dizziness disorders
  • Design, selection, & fitting of hearing instruments & assistive listening devices
  • Rehabilitation therapy for hearing disorders
  • Evaluation & management of tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Patients and family counseling related to diagnosis and treatment
  • Development and implementation of hearing conservation programs to prevent hearing loss
  • Increasing awareness about and prevention of the ingestion of ototoxic substances
  • Research and development of new evaluation techniques and rehabilitation strategies

We have a well-equipped audiology clinic with state-of-the-art technology, including: large sound proof booth, audiometer, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions system, and hearing aid programming & verification computer systems.  We participate in many continuing education events every year and remain current with diagnostic methodology and the latest technological advances in the hearing systems supplied to us by major, international manufacturers.  All of this and more assist us in accomplishing our mission to help patients of all ages on a path to better hearing and improved communication abilities.

Referral from a healthcare provider is required for evaluation.