'I mean truly saving lives, truly saving lives': Free health clinic opened in popular Milwaukee barbershop

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Gee's Clippers, on Milwaukee's northside is offering more than haircuts, but healthcare.

The popular barbershop opened a wellness clinic this year, providing free health screenings to the public.

The clinic is called Gee's MKE Wellness Clinic.

The founder of the barbershop, Gaulien Smith, said the purpose of the health clinic, is to have important conversation around the physical and mental health of the men and women who walk into the shop.

"I mean truly saving lives, truly saving lives," said Smith.

Gee's Clippers is the largest black owned barbershop in the Midwest.

The shop opened its doors in 1995, cementing itself as staple in the black community.

"Community is Gee's clippers, and Gee's clippers is community, "said Smith.

The shops interior designed like an NBA basketball court, where the game of life is often talked about.

"We have the farther, the great grandfather, the father, the son, the nephew, " said the entrepreneur.

Smith, or as everyone knows him as, Gee, said, the people who come into his shop, don’t just come in looking for a haircut, but the cultivation of meaningful relationships.

"Men have a better relationship with their barbers, then they do with their doctors," said Smith.

The longtime barber knowing a simple question could be life- saving.

"It's really a lot of influence that we have as barbers and stylist, to a lot of these people," said Smith.

Smith goes on to say, it's that influence that sparked the creation of Gee's MKE wellness clinic, going beyond the barber chair and into the exam room.

"Doctors have come into that clinic, and have said, wow this looks better than my doctor's office," said Smith.

The free clinic visible for all customers to see, comes equipped with all the tools you would find at your traditional doctor's office.

"This is a safe space, and a comfortable place, a barbershop, like where do you find that at in the city?", said Jasmine Johnikin, Community Outreach Nurse with Froedtert Hospital.

The outreach nurse goes on to say it's never too late to start having conversations centered around your health.

"It's important to know what your blood pressure is like, what your blood glucose is like, so you can live longer, and be healthy, and be able to be around for your family and friends, said Johnikin.

Gee said the point of the clinic is to provide early detection for preventable disease not only for his customers, but also for the greater Milwaukee area, a service he said he wished he offered earlier, before losing his dad.

"When he found out he had colon cancer he was at stage four, it was just too late," said Smith.

Smith now on a mission to make sure his communities health looks as good as their hairline.

A five-minute check up with lifesaving rewards.

"Just do it, you have nothing to lose, your health is your priority," said Johnikin.

For more information on the clinic, click here.

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