The Department of Communication Disorders at Fort Hays State University and the Kansas Masonic Foundation are developing a new outreach program to serve the needs of rural communities across the state. The Masonic Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Kansas Masons, is funding the program.
Beginning in the fall of 2003, faculty and student clinicians in the speech-language pathology program will travel to six different rural sites throughout the state, utilizing the Masonic lodges in Hoxie, Dodge City, Arkansas City, Pittsburg, Hiawatha, and Concordia for outreach activities.
The program?s aim is to bring basic health information, resources and referrals to Kansas residents in rural areas, where health care options are limited. Besides speech-language and hearing issues, the program will also address cancer prevention and education through the participation of the University of Kansas Medical Center. All services will be free and open to the public.
The new program will help ensure that older Kansas residents, especially, receive relevant information about speech, hearing and cancer. Another goal is to help them access needed services in their communities when possible. In addition, screening, prevention, and other educational activities provided through the outreach program will help FHSU students meet the requirements for national certification as speech-language pathologists.
During the first year of the outreach program FHSU?s activities will focus on hearing screenings and education, while KUMC will conduct cancer screenings.
Funding for the outreach program is part of a larger grant to FHSU supporting speech rehabilitation services for stroke survivors and other neurologically impaired adults. The foundation also funds cancer research at KUMC.