Barbershop partners with Vanderbilt to provide basic healthcare services

Black men, historically, are reluctant to go to the doctor.

How often do men go to the barbershop? Once a month? Maybe more? Doctors at Vanderbilt say those routine visit could soon save lives.

They have partnered with Masters Barber Shop in Nashville to help provide basic health care for its patrons.

“I’ve been cutting hair since the age of 13,” said Masters Barber Shop owner Jamal Stewart.

For Stewart, it’s about far more than just trims and fades.

“I’ve got a deep connection to the community. I know a lot of people,” said Stewart.

So when Vanderbilt approached him about having his patrons become patients, Stewart was all in.

Pharmacist Jarod Parish is now at the shop taking people’s blood pressure, sharing the results, and when necessary, prescribing medications.

“I’m also here to be a sounding board for healthcare in general,” said Parish.

While hair cuts and health care may sound like an unlikely combo, it actually makes a lot of sense.

Doctors say black men are less likely to see doctors, for many reasons, but mainly because of trust issues.

“If your dad doesn’t go to the doctor a lot, then you won’t go to the doctor a lot,” said Parish.

Should the study prove successful, the program will expand to more barbershops and the hope is to add tests for high cholesterol and diabetes to the services they provide.

-NBC