A Cut Above the Rest: A Conversation with “Everyday Hero” and Barber Al Edmondson
Prognosis Ohio host Dan Skinner first learned about Al Edmondson and his barbershop, A Cut Above the Rest, after reading in the Columbus Dispatch about the Everyday Hero award Edmondson won. As a community hub, the barbershop not only provides haircuts, but offers health screenings and other resources to neighbors and customers in the Near East Side.
In partnership with the American Heart Association and the Ohio State University College of Nursing, nurses go to the barbershop every Friday and Saturday to provide health screenings. As Edmondson explains on the episode, many customers missed this service when it was temporarily suspended during COVID, but the nurses and health screenings returned on November 11.
Edmondson is always listening to his customers, asking them how they’re feeling, and checking up on their health, whether they’re having problems with arthritis or their mental health. Edmondson sees his barbershop as a connector, referring patrons to appropriate services such as the Franklin County Children’s Services or the Health Department. On the episode, Edmondson also talks with Dan about what lessons he’s learned about his own well-being.
In previous episodes, Prognosis Ohio has shined a light on racial disparities in maternal and infant health in Ohio, but the health of Black men gets less attention. Aware of the stigma attached to seeking help, Edmondson invites customers to be vulnerable and talk openly. He’s even hosted focus groups for colon cancer, a leading cause of death among Black men.
In addition to his barbershop, Edmondson is founder of Making a Difference, a health and wellness nonprofit he established in 2010 and provides health resources and family development services to empower fathers and strengthen the local Black community.
- Check out A Cut Above The Rest at 346 N. 20th St. in Columbus.
- Follow Al Edmondson’s organization, Making a Difference, on Instagram.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Health and human services levies were on the ballot. Read about them here.
- Issue 1 amends the Ohio constitution to change how the state sets bail for criminal defendants. Read about the text here and read The Bail Project’s position on what they call a “misguided” policy development. You can also read the ACLU’s statement on the change.
- Issue 2 makes changes to voting rights in Ohio. Read about the issue here and read commentary about it in the Ohio Capital Journal here.
- To join the November 16 webinar about the Elderly Simplified Application Project, visit Community Solutions website, where the webinar will also be archived.
- A Cut Above The Rest first started offering health screenings after working with Jill Shaw, who was the Community Outreach Coordinator with the American Heart Association at the time.
- Edmondson worked with Dr. Charles Rogers to lead the focus groups with Black men about colon cancer.
- Edmondson’s friend, Dr. Tracy Robinson helped start Making a Difference
Hosted and produced by Dan Skinner. Copywriting and production support by Angela Lin. “Things You Need To Know” written by Patti Carlyle and Dan Skinner. Music by Kyle Rosenberger. Prognosis Ohio is a member of the WCBE Podcast Experience and the Health Podcast Network. Prognosis Ohio is a production of Prognosis Ohio, LLC.