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Good effort

March 20, 2009

Re "Shave and a checkup," March 13

Dr. Bill Releford, an associate professor at Charles Drew University, is grappling with a longtime problem for the African American community. How do you get black men, who have the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease, to see doctors more regularly?

Releford's Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program offers a simple solution: If the men won't go to the doctors, the doctors should find the men. The neighborhood barbershop offers a natural gathering place.

Charles Drew University supports Releford's efforts. We are pleased that plans are underway to make Martin Luther King Jr. hospital operational by 2012, but we also need innovative approaches like this to address urgent needs today.

Keith Norris MD

Susan Kelly

Los Angeles

The writers are, respectively, executive vice president of research and health affairs and president and chief executive officer of Charles Drew University.

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