It’s a not so little known secret- in the black community, the barber shop and beauty salon are more than just places to get your hair done – they’re community gathering spots where everyone talks about everything – including their health.
That forged trust is pretty typical. And it’s the sort of relationship that researchers at The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Minority Health hoped for when they launched Health Advocates in Reach or the HAIR program nine years ago.
It builds on the idea that people who may not typically go see or trust a doctor will pay regular visits and confide in their hair stylist. Angela Ford runs the Center for Minority Health.
"About ten years ago the dept of health and human services set up a program take a loved one to the doctor day. And we put our own spin on that and called it take a health professional to the people day," she said.
For that one day, they bring about a hundred doctors, dentists, nurses into barber shops and beauty salons around the city. People get everything from a virtual HIV test to a respiratory screening.
But on the other 364 days a year the barbers and hair stylists are on their own –dispersing advice and referring their clients to clinics.
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