Black men’s health clinic teams up with barbershops to get Black clientele vaccinated

MADISON, Wis. —  Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association founder Aaron Perry has made it his mission to connect Black men to proper healthcare resources and instill 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 being left out of the process.

“We’ve been working with Black barbershops to help their clientele get healthier,” Perry said.

Perry’s advocacy for Black men’s health led him to reach out to local barbershops to get their clientele vaccinated.

“We know what the health disparities are as they relate to Black men,” Perry said. “A lot of them are living with one to two chronic health conditions yet we are not getting the attention we need so we are shining a light on those health disparities.”

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 did a lot of surveys and the surveys clearly reflected that these guys are not against getting vaccinated, they’re just a little paranoid about the process,” Perry said.

JP Hair Design owner Jeffrey Patterson said he’s heard many of his own clients express they have a history of trust issues in the healthcare system and were hesitant to get the vaccine. When he became aware that Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association was making an effort to get Black men vaccinated, Patterson said, “It feels good. We feel included. We feel like people care.”

One of Patterson’s clients, Djodjo, received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Tuesday’s clinic. Djodjo said he wasn’t hesitant to get vaccinated but understands where some of the hesitancy from other Black men could come from.

“If things are easier to get, more people will do it,” Djodjo said.

Perry said his organization received a $50,000 grant from the $6.2 million in funds available through the Department of Health Services. A portion of that money was used to host Tuesday’s clinic.

JP Hair Design, Resilient Hair Design and B. Right Barbershop and Beauty all participated in the clinic. Perry said he hopes to host another clinic with local barbershops in the future.