WILMINGTON, NC – With a new community health initiative, New Hanover Regional Medical Center has partnered with a local barbershop to bring health professionals directly to residents in the neighborhood.
Starting with two weekends in November and two in December, a NHRMC team meets at Just Cut It Barbershop, 616-A Castle Street, for “Getting Healthy at The Barber.”
Kevin Briggs, director of network pathology and laboratory services at the hospital, said the program is about building relationships within the community and offering wellness screens, vaccinations and health education in convenient, unconventional settings.
“We noticed there was a movement across the country where healthcare organizations were partnering with barbers and we thought, ‘Why don’t we have this in our community?’” he said. “We partnered with Just Cut It Barbershop, and they were excited about the opportunity to reach out to the community.”
Cedron Emerson, the owner of Just Cut It Barbershop, said Briggs has been a client at the business for a few years and so the partnership was a perfect situation.
During the first Saturday session, 25 people who came for a haircut also had the chance to get their blood pressure checked, health information, physician referrals, flu shots and pneumonia vaccines.
Emerson said he hopes to see the initiative expand to other barbershops and salons in the community to reach even more people.
Briggs said that is key to the program’s success.
“The barbers are the ones who have the relationship with the customers so they are the ones to help promote health and wellness,” he said.
But he added that the program also gives the healthcare profession a new approach in how it provides services.
“This is really about creating access in unconventional places, where we are not waiting for people to come to the hospital when they are already sick,” Briggs said. “We are proactively going out and providing these services.”
Upcoming “Getting Healthy at The Barber” events will be November 18, December 2 and December 16, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.