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Suffolk County Offers Health Screenings at Local Barber Shops to Promote Healthier Communities

Collaboration with Stony Brook Medicine provides "Styled Wellness" events in communities of color during April, Minority Health Month

The Suffolk County Health Department's Office of Minority Health will launch a multi-day outreach effort to foster community health awareness and engagement among people of color. The "Styled Wellness" program, an outgrowth of the Suffolk County's long-standing SHOPs initiative, will kick off on Saturday, April 6, at Imperial Kutt Kreators in Bellport and Paramount Styles in Dix Hills.

SHOPs is the acronym for “Suffolk County Health Outreach Partnerships.” The SHOPs program has collaborated with minority-owned barbershops for nearly two decades to educate shop patrons about health issues facing minority communities. The program has conducted presentations focusing on sexually transmitted infections and HIV, CPR, stroke, and offered blood pressure and body mass index screenings at participating shop locations.

The newly formed SHOPs "Styled Wellness" program is a collaborative effort with Stony Brook Medicine that will utilize the services of nursing and physician assistant students who will provide complimentary blood pressure screenings and health education to barbershop patrons.

High blood pressure is a major health issue in the African American and Latino communities; the longer it is left untreated, the more serious the complications can be. The goal is to increase community awareness of the importance of having one’s blood pressure checked regularly and to provide education as to how to maintain a healthy blood pressure in order to prevent stroke and heart disease.

"We have long recognized the critical need for proactive health measures within communities of color" said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott. "Our new collaboration with Stony Brook Medicine has breathed new life into our SHOPS program and leveraged local partnerships that we hope will create lasting impacts on health outcomes in our communities."

Racial and ethnic minority populations throughout the United States experience higher rates of death and disease across a wide range of health conditions when compared to their white counterparts due to longstanding inequities such as poverty, limited access to healthcare, lack of education and racism. These inequities influence a wide range of health risks and quality-of-life outcomes. The Suffolk County Office of Minority Health collaborates with trusted partners in the community to find innovative solutions that can be put into action in the places where people of color live and work.

“Many people of color receive all types of news and information within their beauty salon and barbershop, and they are considered trusted resources,” said Adesuwa Watson, Director of Suffolk County's Office of Minority Health. “We are very excited about our collaboration with Stony Brook Medicine, which will enable us to bring screenings and information to a greater number of shops and patrons.”

"We believe that true wellness begins with community," said Jessica Fenton, MD, MS, Preventive Medicine Resident at Stony Brook Medicine. "These barber shops serve as community hubs, welcoming spaces for individuals to engage with healthcare professionals and take proactive steps towards better health. We hope the community will join us as we strive to build healthier, stronger communities, one screening at a time."

Members of the community are invited to participate in the SHOPs "Styled Wellness" events.

The program will launch on Saturday, April 6, at Imperial Kutt Kreators in Bellport and Paramount Styles in Dix Hills from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both locations.

The initiative will continue on April 26 at Sir Shave Barber Parlor in Wyandanch from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and April 27 at House of Essence in Amityville from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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Categories: Health, Minority Health


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