Press Event or Media Tour

Cigna goes truly social to raise awareness of colorectal cancer among black men

Insurer tapped barbers to get the message out; press release brought journalists to the event.

Increasing Colorectal Screenings by Empowering Local Black Barbershops - Logo -

Rates of screening for colorectal cancer (one of only two types of cancer preventable by screening) have been declining among men in the African-American community. Cigna sought to reach this population with a strategy to draw media to a barbershop—an approach that not only succeeded but earned first place in the “Press Event or Media Tour” category of the 2016 PR Daily Awards.

The effort supported HAIR—Health Advocates in Research—in spreading the message via barbershops in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The project, led by the University of Maryland Public Health Department’s Maryland Center for Health Equity, chose Christopher’s Grooming Lounge as the first Washington barbershop to participate. 

Cigna health spokespersons, along with representatives of other participants, were on site with eight reporters—who were encouraged to get a haircut on Cigna’s dime to experience the intervention first-hand. A local NBC news anchor took Cigna up on the haircut offer and reported from the customer’s point of view. 

Coverage expanded well beyond the eight reporters attending the event, ultimately generating 55 million impressions from top-tier and important minority outlets. 

Congratulations to: Gloria Barone Rosanio, David Figliuzzi, Dr. Christina Stasiuk, Kenneth Seda, Sarah Dudzic Julia Huggins and Amy Szable from Cigna; Jackie Kahn, Monica Huang, Melinda Boisjolie, Brittany Horowitz, Rachel Gartner Tyson Greaves, Emily Lippard and Aleena Hasnain from Edelman; Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, Shawnta Jackson and Kester Williams from UMD; and Dr. Arnold G. Levy from Capital Digestive Care.

View More PR Daily Awards 2016 Winners.

Visit to learn more about awards opportunities.