Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Barbershops as Grassroots Activists

This is an imaginative example of effective grassrooots activism....what a great idea! From the Progressive Policy Institute....

For many of us, information about health care comes into our daily lives through someone other than a doctor. We may seek the advice of a friend because he or she has had similar problems. Or we may turn to someone in our community whom we trust, like our barber or beautician.
That's the premise behind the Barbershop Initiative, according to The Washington Post. A small non-profit group, Prostate Net, has signed up 800 barbers nationwide to provide their customers with first-hand information about prostrate cancer, which kills black men more than twice as often as white men.

The health care discussions barbers have with their customers are not limited to prostrate cancer. Joe Harrington, a prevention leader at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center explains: "This opens the door to talking about all-around preventive health care. We talk about what factors you can change. You can't change your race or your age, but you can change your lifestyle. Once we get people to a doctor, then they can also get screened for high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes."

Participating barbers receive educational briefings at 57 medical centers throughout the country and brochures from the National Cancer Institute. The program has received funding from MGM Studios as part of last year's release of the movie "Barbershop 2."

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