Black barber talking to customer in retro barbershop

• A nationwide poll recently found that 7 in 10 Black Americans believe that they are treated unfairly by the healthcare system.

• Approximately 55 percent of Black Americans say that they distrust the healthcare system.

• Black Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to say that they do not trust their physician.

• People who say that they mistrust their healthcare providers are less likely to follow medical advice, keep doctors’ appointments or fill prescriptions.

• People who mistrust the healthcare system are more likely to be in poor health.

Trust has the power to create human ties, prompt deep conversations, increase knowledge and shape healthy behaviors that improve lives. However, when this trust doesn’t exist between a medical provider and a patient, it can lead to untreated health conditions, misdiagnosis and lower quality of care.

Generations of racism and mistreatment have caused many Black Americans to be mistrustful of the medical community. This mistrust has also created walls that have separated Black Americans from the resources and supports that can help them live longer, happier lives. It’s important to break down those walls and build a new foundation of trust – even if that has to start outside of the traditional healthcare setting.

Amerigroup Maryland has made a commitment to breaking down and overcoming healthcare disparities, so everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. That is why they are introducing innovative approaches to accessing health information and services. It is also why they have partnered with Live Chair Health to foster human connections, healthy habits and trust through barber shops and beauty salons. 

Black Americans are sometimes more likely to trust their hair and beauty professionals more than their doctors. Conversations tend to open up when people are in the stylist’s chair, so Amerigroup and Live Chair Health are positioning the barbershop experience as a health-enabler by offering opportunities for people to visit local barbershops and beauty salons, access free health resources and get paid credits fordoing it.

Through the month of June, and on an ongoing basis, Amerigroup is inviting the Black community to visit barbershops and salons across Capitol Heights and in Silver Spring for Healthchecks and Haircuts. During these events, free health screenings, haircuts and manicures will be offered to anyone who is willing to show up and join the conversation. There will be health checks, enjoyable social experiences and advice on how to live a longer, healthier life. It’s an opportunity to change outlooks on health and look good while doing it.

Amerigroup is sponsoring Live Chair Health events on an ongoing basis. For more information about these opportunities and how they work, visit www.livechair.co and watch a video by the organization’s founder, Andrew Suggs.

Amerigroup also invites the community to visit www.myamerigroup.com/md/home.html to be empowered with more information about services and resources that can improve health and lives. Additionally, Amerigroup wants to remind members that help accessing information, resources and services is only a phone call away. Just call the Member Services phone number on your Amerigroup ID card.

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