Local non-profit works to address health disparities among African American men
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A local non-profit organization is working to address health disparities among African American men.
The Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health (IAMH) held the first event in its “Choppin’ It Up Barbershop Series” in Jackson Sunday.
It’s all part of an effort to provide a comfortable setting for what may be an uncomfortable conversation for some.
“There’s a lot of very unfiltered conversations and a lot of topics that may not otherwise get discussed elsewhere at a barber shop,” Warren Jones said. “It’s kind of like an open forum for people to discuss anything.”
An epidemiologist during the week and a member of the Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health in between, Jones said the pandemic exposed several health disparities among African American men.
Even still, he said research shows black men tend to avoid regular doctor visits at a higher rate than the rest of society.
“Some African American men may not feel comfortable going to a hospital setting. Some people are just afraid to talk about it,” he said. “Doing this in a setting where it’s comfortable enough for men to have the conversation and also be open to getting some of these screenings is vital. "
In partnership with Open Arms Healthcare, IAMH provided a variety of screenings Sunday and educated people on how to reduce their risk of high blood pressure.
“These are conversations that can educate people and also provide something they can take back to their communities or their businesses,” he said. “We’re just looking to not only raise awareness but also get other men to join us in this effort.”
Jones said another goal is to bridge the gap between younger men and older men.
“Older men who may already be more at risk can educate younger men who are at danger of being at risk later on,” he said.
Jones said his group is looking to expand this effort to other parts of the state and will also focus on different health topics every time.
No date has been set for the next one, but when it is, IAMH will provide information on its social media pages.
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