Masonic Lodge funding to provide second year of free health screenings from FHSU

HAYS, Kan. - Free adult hearing screenings, sponsored by the Kansas Masons, will be offered again this fall and next spring in six western Kansas communities by Fort Hays State University.

"The FHSU Herndon Clinic in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is very fortunate to have recently received a $250,000 grant from the Kansas Masons to support adult speech, language and hearing services in western Kansas," said Marcy Beougher, speech-language pathologist and an instructor in the department.

The grant will provide numerous opportunities for older adults in western Kansas, and in some areas of eastern Colorado and southern Nebraska, to receive important health screening services that are currently scarce or difficult to access. Expanding adult services provided by the CSD Department and the Herndon Clinic will include enhanced training and services related to dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) and hearing screenings.

With funding secured through the Kansas Masons, all speech-language pathology students in the department will be exposed to classroom training in fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES), and several students will gain FEES experience in a clinical setting prior to their externship.

"The hearing screenings got off to a great start last year. We screened over 200 people, and we hope to reach more people this year in the different cities," she said. "This program is beneficial for the service it brings to these western Kansas communities as well as the clinical hours it provides the graduate students from our department."

The first hearing screening will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at the Cheyenne County Health Department, 221 West First Street, St. Francis. The screening will be in the basement, which is accessible by elevator.

Appointments may be scheduled ahead of time, but walk-ins will be welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis. Each site will have four stations, with each screening lasting approximately 15-20 minutes. Results and follow-up information will also be provided.

Screenings are provided by graduate students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Beougher will organize the screenings, assisted by CSD graduate assistant Coulter Kane, Hays.

The second screening will be Oct. 13 in Ulysses, but a time and place have not been finalized.

Screenings will also be held in Lakin, Norton, Greensburg and Hoxie. Times, dates and places will be announced later.

"We are very thankful to the Kansas Masons for this opportunity to bring a much-needed service to people in western Kansas who also provide excellent and required clinical experience for our FHSU graduate students," said Beougher.

To schedule an appointment for the St. Francis screening, contact Rodney Ritchey of St. Francis Lodge No. 404 at 785-332-2923 or

For more information, visit or contact the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at 785-628-5366.

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