Current dermatology screening programs available through the American Academy of Dermatology focus on conditions most commonly found in the Caucasian population, despite data demonstrating that racial and ethnic minorities are at a higher risk for poor health outcomes associated with skin conditions. To address this disparity and improve access to dermatology screenings, Froedtert Hospital nurses and Froedtert & MCW dermatologists developed a new outreach screening program focused on conditions that are more common in diverse communities.

Screening Events to Address Skin, Hair and Nail Concerns

The Skin, Hair and Nails screening initiative provides individuals an opportunity to talk with a registered nurse and a board-certified dermatologist about a variety of concerns that are more common in African American and Latin American people.

Four screening events were hosted in diverse communities during the first year of the program in partnership with Casa Guadalupe, Gee’s Clippers Barbershop and Beauty Salon and Neighborhood House of Milwaukee. Nearly 170 individuals completed skin, hair and nail screenings, with 95% of participants identifying as African American, Asian or Hispanic. 

Increasing Access to Specialty Care

Many participants reported never seeing a dermatologist before or being unable to access dermatology services due to lack of health insurance. Five cases that appeared highly suspicious for skin cancer were identified thanks to the program. More than a third of participants were referred for further medical evaluation. In addition to increasing access to specialty care, registered nurses assisted community members with navigating the health system as well as coordinated ongoing care. 

There are plans to expand the Skin, Hair and Nails screening initiative to more communities. These types of community partnerships and screening efforts are essential to achieve equity and address health disparities in the diverse communities served by the Froedtert & MCW health network.