Health and Haircuts: THIS Madison, Wisconsin Barbershop is Also a Health Center

The barbershop for Black men has been a place of solace, self-care and outlet for relaxation for a long time. Your barber is everything to you: stylist, doctor, therapist, life-coach etc. Imagine walking into your local barbershop and not only receiving the best shape-up of your life, but also getting your blood pressure checked.

Aaron Perry of Madison, Wisconsin decided that he wanted to use barbershops as the platform to start his own wellness initiative, The Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association Men’s Health and Education Center.

The Dane County organization strives to reduce health disparities for Black men in Madison by providing services in the following areas: health education, health screenings, and social service support. Perry started this center in 2016 in the backroom of JP Hair Design in Madison to help teach the customers about health issues that affect Black people and Black men especially.

The idea for the health center came from Perry’s visits to the shop and overhearing the health challenges of men in the room. African-American men in Wisconsin have a life expectancy seven years shorter than white men. In Dane County where RLWA is housed, Black men suffer from cancer, obesity, and diabetes at a higher rate compared to whites.

“I’m thinking, men do actually talk about their health challenges, but we have to be better prepared as a community to respond to those,” he said.

Perry surely has prepared the community to respond as The Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association has received a $300,000 grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program. This grant will allow him to