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APHA amplifies ‘real talk’ on COVID-19 with new web series

Date: Aug 26 2021

Contact: Media Relations, 202-777-3913

The American Public Health Association is supporting the health of Black Americans — and working to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates — by hosting a new web series on its YouTube channel.

“Barbershop Medicine,” developed by YouTube Originals, follows two doctors as they talk about health, racial justice and the Black experience with community members and leaders. The series debuted on APHA’s YouTube channel,, in July.

“Barbershop Medicine” was created as part of YouTube’s Black Voices Fund, which is working to amplify Black perspectives. The series uses the barbershop setting to host frank conversations on health and social topics that are of importance to Black and brown communities.

“Barbershops and beauty salons have long played a central role in the Black community, where people can speak freely, learn and connect,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “APHA is proud to host these conversations and share science-based information that can improve health and save lives.”

On July 27, series co-hosts Italo Brown, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician, and Cedric “Jamie” Rutland, MD, a pulmonary and critical care physician, launched “Barbershop Medicine” with a special discussion on COVID-19. The two spoke with Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, about vaccine hesitancy and myths.

“The one thing that we've learned — very, very clearly — is you counter misinformation and disinformation by continuing to provide the correct information,” Fauci said. “It's like, the best defense is a good offense.”

The first regular episode of “Barbershop Medicine” takes place in Los Angeles, with Brown and Rutland discussing COVID-19 with local residents and musician Masego, who lost his grandmother to the disease. The two doctors conversationally answer questions and address myths about the vaccine. The episode has already been viewed more than 246,000 times.

While 70% of adult Americans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of early August, Black Americans have been less likely to be vaccinated against the disease, putting them at greater risk.

“Already knowing that there are health care disparities and equity problems — if we don't get the vaccination, it's actually going to widen that gap,” Rutland said in the episode. “Because if less Black people get the vaccination, that means more Black people are going to get sick.”

APHA’s partnership with YouTube is part of the Association’s work to share evidence-based information on COVID-19 and public health and dispel misinformation.


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at