Coordinating health services in African American barbershops. Documenting the daily life of Latino immigrants. Exploring strategies to reduce gun violence. Building academic-community partnerships. These are some of the initiatives of the Center for Health Equity (CHE) at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. CHE has a goal to reduce the major causes of excess mortality among underserved populations in Southwestern Pennsylvania. CHE does this by using a community-engaged approach to address health disparities. CHE works in various communities throughout the year but with a special emphasis on programs in April during National Minority Health Month.
The health challenges facing African American men are well-documented. They are at increased risk for heart disease, prostate cancer, kidney failure and gun violence. It is important to help the community learn more about these health conditions. CHE partners with local barbershops, students in Pitt’s Schools of the Health Sciences and health care providers. These partners go to the community and offer blood pressure screenings and health education for barbershop clients. This event is held every year and is called “Take a Health Professional to the People Day” (TADay). TADay is a health promotion effort that is open to anyone interested in volunteering time in a barbershop. CHE also partners with the four main trauma centers in our local hospitals to offer services to help improve the lives of gun-shot victims.