Humana offers health screenings in KC salons and barber shops

April 11, 2019 - 10:11 am

Health insurer Humana is working with non-profit group Black Healthcare Coalition of KC to provide free health screenings in barber shops and beauty salons in black neighborhoods.

"When you look statistically, the African-American community has a much higher percentage of heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, diabetes, than other populations," said Jeremy Gaskill, regional president of Humana in Kansas City.

Type II diabetes may be the biggest health risk for African-Americans.

"Type I you're typically born with, that's genetic," Gaskill said. "Type II is something that is developed over time, and that's usually through lack of exercise and your diet. Those are the kinds of things that we can educate the population about, so they can shift the way that they're going about their lives on a day-to-day basis."

Barber shops and hair salons play a significant role in black neighborhoods as meeting places where people openly express their opinions and talk about their lives.

"We hear so much," said Janice Willis-Hichi at Chocolate City Beauty Salon. "We're not just hair stylists. We counsel and give advice, because they come with a lot of things on their minds, in their hearts, and they trust you enough to share it with you."

The program is called the “More Healthy Days” Barbershop and Beauty Parlor Tour. Humana is providing people with free health screenings and wellness classes at barbershops and beauty parlors until October. The goal is to screen 1,000 residents at participating locations.

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