New health campaign committed to cutting hair and cutting minority health disparities

By Quin Welch, Building Kentucky

Well Groomed Barber Shop owner Tony Burdette cuts the hair of an attendee at Saturday’s Project Ricochet Barber Shop event.

A community-based organization working hard to increase equity in health care held its first “Barber Shop Initiative” event on Saturday at Well Groomed Barber Shop in Lexington. Partnering with Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield Medicaid and other community sponsors, Project Ricochet’s Barber Shop initiative is designed to develop and strengthen relationships between community health workers and barbers so that African-American men receive the information they need to take care of their own health. 

In many communities, the local barber shop is more than just a place for a haircut — it’s a gathering place. The Barber Shop initiative recognizes that, and knows that barber shops make excellent places for African-American men — who, according to the National Institutes of Health have higher rates of asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, influenza, suicide, and HIV/Aids — to receive potentially life-saving health screenings and information. 

Attendees at Saturday’s event received free haircuts and free food in addition to health screenings and information on a variety of resources for people to prioritize their physical and mental health. By meeting people where they are, Project Ricochet, Anthem Medicaid Kentucky and everyone involved with the Barber Shop Initiative are breaking down barriers and creating a more equitable health system for everyone.

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