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UK’s Robyn Lewis Brown Awarded Switzer Fellowship

By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2021) — Robyn Lewis Brown, associate professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, has been awarded a Switzer Fellowship from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research.

She is one of only four recipients nationwide to receive the prestigious fellowship for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“It is a privilege and honor to receive this award," Brown said. "And I look forward to the research it will allow me to pursue."

Brown will use the funding to expand on her research concerning the effects of the Great Recession on employment experiences and health outcomes. In a series of four studies, she will examine how the differential effects of the recession at the state level have shaped working conditions for people with and without disabilities, thereby affecting health and well-being.

To carry out these studies, Brown will combine data from the National Survey of Midlife Development, the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to guide her research.

“As the population ages and people are experiencing more years of both employment and functional disability, it is more crucial than ever that we address employment disadvantages that are disproportionately experienced by people with disabilities,” she said. “Knowing the profound effects our work has on health and well-being, we need strategic research efforts to inform policies that can improve working conditions and population health in this period of economic austerity. This fellowship will provide me with the time and resources to do such intensive work.”

More About the Switzer Research Fellowships Program

The goal of the program is to build research capacity by supporting research on the rehabilitation of those with disabilities. Fellows must conduct original research in an area authorized by Section 204 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, to maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the act.  

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.