CGI U 2013 at Washington University in St. Louis

Barbershop-based health education study

Mary Masters, Elaine Khoong and Uzoh Ikpeama, students in the School of Medicine

Nancy Ye, undergraduate student in Arts & Sciences

Many low-income, African-American St. Louisans lack the time or resources to see a physician or learn about healthy lifestyles — but almost everyone finds time to get a haircut. That’s why WUSTL students Mary Masters, Elaine Khoong, Uzoh Ikpeama and Nancy Ye want to train barbers as peer educators to promote healthy lifestyle changes and to explain metabolic syndrome to barbershop clients.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity. After barbers are trained, the students hope to then assess the efficacy of barber-based education to reduce metabolic syndrome.