SWAG 2018-02-09T21:01:10+00:00


The SWAG Program: Saving Women And Gents

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

John F. Kennedy

The Urban Barber Association (TUBA) is comprised of a growing number of barbershops and beauty salons that have untied to address issues that are affecting Cleveland, Ohio’s urban communities. TUBA has fifteen barbershops and eight beauty salons in its network ranging from Euclid to Lakewood, Ohio. Barbershops and beauty salon owners call daily to inquire about how they can be a part of our organization.

There is a problem that continues to haunt the urban areas more than any other at an alarming rate. Health disparities is responsible for ripping families apart and weakening neighborhoods. Black men suffer far worse than any other racial group in America. There are a number of reasons for this, including: a lack of affordable health services, poor health education, cultural barriers, poverty, employment that does not carry health insurance and insufficient medical and social services catering to minorities. This information is nothing new to health care professionals. TUBA has an interesting twist to healthcare and preventive maintenance.

The Urban Barber Association launched the SWAG (Saving Women And Gents) Program in July of 2008 to address the at risk minority population at Urban Kutz Barbershop on Cleveland’s Westside. It has been an annual growing celebration of health awareness and education since. In previous years The Urban Barber Association’s SWAG Program has collaborated with many health care professionals. Some of these stellar organizations are: Cleveland Clinic, The Kidney Foundation of Ohio, The National Kidney foundation, University Hospitals, and the Northern Ohio Recovery Association (NORA). Along with HIV testing, the basic core screens of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol were done. The Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) educated people about the importance and lack of minority organ donors and even convinced many to become organ donors. The National Kidney foundation had a representative come to educate men about the importance of a healthy life style.

Every year literature for low income health programs is passed out as well as 200 free blood glucose monitoring systems valued at $80.00 each. Goals of screening, educating, and referring were reached. A healthy menu consisting of turkey burgers, turkey franks, and even turkey ribs were provided free of charge which was a huge attraction. People with abnormal findings were referred to participating physicians or health care facilities. Some people were sent directly to the emergency room because their vital statistics registered at alarming levels. THE SWAG PROGRAM HAS SAVED LIVES. From 2008 to present, over two thousand people have been screened, educated and referred through the SWAG Program.

In 2013 TUBA was more ambitious. The SWAG Program expanded from one barbershop to four, two on the east side and two on the west side. Some of our goals were to empower the minority community by screening and educating Five hundred people so they will better understand various diseases, their complications, as well as the standard of care they deserve as it relates to prevention and management. The Urban Barber Association exceeded the five hundred mark by 157 people. If I were to put a low dollar value on the blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and HIV screens, this would equate into $65,700.00 worth of health screens. This does not include the price of literature, food, and blood glucose monitoring systems that were distributed throughout the event.

Minority owned barbershops and beauty salons have been and remain to be pillars in their communities. They are a place of comfort and trusted environment. The “Black man’s country club” so to speak. They attract minority men and women of all ages making the SWAG (Saving Women And Gents) Program an excellent avenue to get information about health to minorities. It is no secret that men do not visit the doctor as often as they should, so the SWAG Program brings the doctor to them.

This new approach to health care is out of the box, innovative, organic, and grassroots as a non profit can be. We seriously hope that you will consider joining forces with The Urban Barber Association’s (TUBA) SWAG (Saving Women And Gents) Program.

1. Primary customers and statistics

– Black men experience disproportionately higher death rates in all leading causes of death. They live 7.1 years less than any other racial group and have a higher death rate than women for all leading causes of death.

– Over half (65%) of black men over 60 have hypertension while one in four African American women older than 55 has diabetes.

– Minority women develop high blood pressure earlier in life and have higher average blood pressure compared with White women and Type 2 diabetes is the largest health challenge facing African American women.

2. Supporting Customers

The SWAG Health Program has a number of supporters who provide financial and volunteer help:

– United Black Fund

– Neighborhood connections

– Cleveland Clinic

– Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

– The National Kidney Foundation

– MOTTEP Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program

– Get Covered America

3. What our customers value

– The Primary Customer value trust. Our clients trust their barber and the atmosphere is one in which information is exchanged without pressure.

– The Supporting Customer values meaningful use of financial support, opportunities to collaborate and provide services to meet perceived needs.

4. Goals and Objectives

– SCREENS: Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, and HIV.

– EDUCATE: Preventive education about diet and exercise. Education about the signs and symptoms of common chronic diseases. Also address the details of the Affordable Health Care Law and how to obtain the coverage conducive to their households health needs.

– REFER: Connect people to a primary physician who they will continue to see on a regular basis.

– Expand the SWAG Program to barbershops across the United States that are providing this service to their clients and communities.

– Continue to screen, educate, and refer minorities within our collective communities in order to help reduce the fatality rate due to preventable and manageable diseases.

5. What Impact this program has had

– We have screened and educated over 2000 minority men and women about some of the most serious health issues concerning our health since 2008 and provided immediate access to medical care.