Black men’s health clinic teams up with barber shops to vaccinate black customers
MADISON, Wisconsin – Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association Founder Aaron Perry made it his mission to connect black men to the right health resources and build more trust between the black community and the healthcare system. With COVID vaccines rolling out to more and more people, Perry wanted to find a way to make sure black men weren’t left out of the process.
“We’ve worked with black hair salons to help their clientele be healthier,” Perry said.
Perry’s advocacy for black men’s health led him to contact local barber shops to get their clientele vaccinated.
“We know what the health disparities are when it comes to black men,” Perry said. “A lot of them are living with one to two chronic conditions, but we’re not getting the attention we need.
Perry worked with Fitchburg Family Pharmacy and nursing students at Edgewood College to get enough vaccines and vaccinators to set up their own vaccination clinic Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve done a lot of polling and the polls have clearly shown that these guys aren’t against the vaccine, they’re just a little paranoid about the process,” Perry said.
Jeffrey Patterson, owner of JP Hair Design, said he heard several of his own clients say they had a history of health system trust issues and were reluctant to get vaccinated. When he heard that the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association was making an effort to vaccinate black men, Patterson said, “It feels good. We feel included. We feel that people care. “
One of Patterson’s clients, Djodjo, received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the clinic on Tuesday. Djodjo said he had no hesitation in getting the vaccine but understood where some of the reluctance of other black men might have come from.
“If things are easier to get, more people will,” Djodjo said.
Perry said his organization received a grant of $ 50,000 out of the $ 6.2 million in funds available through the Department of Health Services. Some of that money was used to host the clinic on Tuesday.
JP Hair Design, Resilient Hair Design, and B. Right Barbershop and Beauty all attended the clinic. Perry said he hopes to host another clinic with local hair salons in the future.
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