Aging black men are at much greater risk of dying prematurely from colorectal cancer than any other group in the United States, in part because they have less frequent access to preventive health services.
In an effort to change this, Joseph Ravenell, MD, associate professor in the Department of Population Health and the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone, and his team have spent several years building relationships with barber shops across New York City. The idea is that they could reach black men who do not have a doctor to help them get screened for colorectal cancer.
Dr. Ravenell and his team referred participants who enrolled in their study either to a patient navigator, a control arm that received blood pressure counseling, or a group that received both. Participants who worked with a navigator were twice as likely to get screened as those who did not.
"What this study shows is that having trusted community members who are based in trusted community settings and teaming them with the healthcare system can definitely help to address important healthcare disparities," Dr. Ravenell tells Modern Healthcare.
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