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    September 17, 2021

    Media Contact:

    Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536

    Charles Gischlar, Deputy Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-6491


    PHOTO RELEASE: Maryland Department of Health, Live Chair Health and Holy Cross Health partner with Silver Spring barbershop to support equitable vaccine access in minority communities


    Baltimore, MD—Today, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), Live Chair Health and Holy Cross Health co-hosted a COVID-19 vaccination and health information clinic at Afrikutz Barber & Beauty Shop in Silver Spring as part of the ongoing effort to provide equitable access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. 

    ​Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Dr. Mark Martin, Deputy Director of the MDH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, discuss the importance of equitable access to vaccines in the local community.

    “Our partnership with Live Chair Health aims to reduce vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination rates in some of our most vulnerable communities,” said Deputy Director of MDH’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Dr. Mark Martin. “It ensures our efforts to protect Marylanders from COVID include equitable access to these life-saving vaccines, as well as information to educate, inform and boost vaccine uptake.” 


    The MDH Community Engagement Team and the MDH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities provided vaccine information while Holy Cross Health provided clinical services and administered vaccines. Afrikutz Barber & Beauty Shop offered free haircuts to the first 30 individuals to get vaccinated. 


    Pictured (L to R):  Kathleen Williams, Holy Cross Health; Thomas Johnson, MDH Community Engagement; Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive;  Oscar Masuku, Afrikutz Barber and Beauty Shop; Johnelle Brown, Live Chair Health; Meme Michaelides, MDH Community Engagement; Frank Otenasek, Live Chair Health


    MDH is partnering with Live Chair Health to conduct grassroots outreach and enhance vaccine access in minority communities. Since 2019, Live Chair Health has been working in barbershops and hair salons to reduce health disparities for minorities, who are often affected by COVID-19 and chronic diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


    The clinic is part of an ongoing MDH initiative to bring COVID-19 response directly into communities across Maryland, including vaccination and testing clinics at festivals, sporting events and other public venues. 


    The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.


    Follow us on Twitter @MDHealthDept and at Facebook.com/MDHealthDept.​​​