Leo Zakhariya is a familiar face at Adventist Health Portland, where he is known as a “hope giver.”
Zakhariya was a pastor in Russia before he and his family moved to the U.S. in 2002. It took several years for Leo’s pastoral credentials to arrive, so while he waited, he took a job in environmental services at Adventist Health Portland.
During his five years in environmental services, Zakhariya's contagious smile, prayers with patients and inspiring conversations with hospital staff members attracted the attention of the hospital spiritual care director.
Soon, Zakhariya accepted a position as an on-call chaplain and began work on a Master of Divinity degree with an eye toward becoming a full-time chaplain. After finishing his master’s degree in 2008, Zakhariya completed clinical pastoral education at Oregon State Hospital in Salem. In 2011, he was hired as a full-time chaplain at Adventist Health Portland.
During his work as a chaplain, Zakhariya quickly saw the need for a CPE training program in the Portland area. So, with the support of Adventist Health, he started a CPE program at Adventist Health Portland. Zakhariya is now the CPE clinical supervisor at Adventist Health Portland, and the CPE program he started has graduated more than 60 students.
People who know Zakhariya say he is an out-of-the-box-thinker, selfless listener and a spirit-filled healthcare provider. Most of all, Zakhariya is known as a teacher of hope and a presence of healing. As a result of Zakhariya’s work and vision, Adventist Health Portland now has one of the largest CPE training programs in the Portland metro area.
Sandraneta Hall, one of the chaplains at Adventist Health Portland, said the CPE program transformed how she relates to patients. “I’m here to be with them and walk beside them as they’re going through their challenges and their joys. My job is to love, and CPE has taught me how to love in a way that I understand God loves me and wants me to love other people,” said Hall.