Wegher’s and Meyer’s poster described their work with focus groups from throughout South Dakota, including parents of children with significant hearing loss. The two students explained obstacles and barriers encountered by parents in South Dakota with hearing-challenged children, as well as information about newborn hearing screenings. They also identified how early hearing detection and intervention in the state can be improved.

Their work was supported by a grant from South Dakota Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Department of Health, the USD Nursing Department and the USD Communication Sciences and Disorders Department.

“We are so proud of our students. They did an outstanding job organizing the focus groups and collecting data working with parents across the state of South Dakota, and representing USD and the South Dakota EHDI Collaborative at the conference,” said Haifa AbouSamra of USD’s nursing school and Jessica Messersmith of USD’s communication sciences and disorders department, who both served as mentors.

Megan Wegher is from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and is a graduate of Sergeant Bluff - Luton High School. Wegher, a former All-American track and field athlete for USD, earned a B.S. in Communications Sciences and Disorders. She is now a graduate student in the Audiology program at USD. Kiersten Meyer, from Canton, South Dakota, is a graduate of Canton High School. She also earned a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from USD, and is now a Speech Language Pathologist graduate student at USD.

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