Milwaukee barbershop expands to become a free health clinic

NOW: Milwaukee barbershop expands to become a free health clinic

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A well-known barbershop in Milwaukee is expanding its services to become a wellness clinic.

On Friday morning, Gee's Clippers had its grand opening with partners Network Health and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin to unveil 'Gee's MKE Wellness Clinic.'

"We want to have people around, you know, to be with their loved ones as long as we can," said Owner Gaulien 'Gee' Smith.

Smith said he's been wanting to expand his barbershop into a clinic for a few years now.

"I wanted to see what I could do as a community hub, 'cause that's what I feel barbershops are, we are a community hub, it's our responsibility to help the community live better," Smith said.

Smith opened up to CBS 58 about both of his parents dying at an early age. His mother at the age of 65, and his father at 62.

"He had never gotten a colonoscopy and from what I understand, Colon Cancer is the most preventable cancer out," Smith added.

His father passed away in 2006 shortly after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer and that sparked the idea of creating a wellness center.

"I just want to try to stop that from happening again to someone else where they find out late in the game that they have cancer," Smith said.

Gee's MKE Wellness Clinic is free for anyone who walks in. The clinic is open only on Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Smith is hoping to help eliminate health disparities in the community he calls home. 

"I think the biggest issue with health disparities is that when people don't feel like they can trust the people that they're sharing their story," said CEO/President of Network Health Coreen Dicus-Johnson.

She said first comes trust, then it's education.

"Those clinics will do blood pressure screenings, glucose screenings, we'll have other health and wellness screenings and opportunities, we'll be able to have medical prescription drug education," Dicus-Johnson explained.

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