New PhD Student Charity Lewis Receives First Kathryn Hyer Scholarship

As a researcher, Kathryn Hyer believed that she had a responsibility to conduct studies about real-world concerns. Her work focused on the care older adults receive in later life through services provided in their homes, assisted living communities, or nursing homes. Her main goal was learning how to improve quality of care and quality of life for older adults.

After Dr. Hyer died in early 2021, the USF School of Aging Studies created a scholarship to help advance her goal. The first Kathryn Hyer Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Public Policy and Aging has been awarded to Charity Lewis, a new PhD student in the USF School of Aging Studies.

Charity received a gerontology master’s degree from USF last year, and she brings to the PhD program a special interest in audiology and in disparities among older adults.  While working on her master’s she assisted in the Auditory Rehabilitation and Clinical Trials Laboratory at USF. During this time, she realized that older adults who are Black don’t appear to use hearing aids or have the same access to hearing aids as others do. Given the importance of hearing to health and well-being, Charity identified this as a critical health disparity that deserved greater research attention.

Charity begins her PhD studies in the School of Aging Studies in the Fall of 2022. While here, she plans to research disparities in hearing health services, with the hope that her work leads to policies and clinical practices to improve the quality of care and quality of life for an underserved population.

A donation to the Kathryn Hyer Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Public Policy and Aging will help support future graduate students in their efforts to improve the lives of older adults through their research.

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