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Restoring neighborhood murals, Vaseline draws attention to need for skin health equity

Public art of the people and for the people, outdoor murals both reflect a neighborhood's identity and add color and character. Unfortunately, they're not immune to damage. To ensure beloved pieces across the United States aren't lost, Vaseline has launched Mended Murals, a program that combines art restoration with advocacy for better skin care for people of color.

Vaseline commissions a piece's original artist to rejuvenate their work while also creating an opportunity to talk about the importance of skincare. To date, murals in Baltimore, MD, Brooklyn, NY, and Hartford, CT, have been restored, and Vaseline is calling on residents to nominate artworks in their neighborhoods that need a fresh coat of paint.

Each reconditioned piece is supplemented with a new element: a QR code directing viewers to, a database Vaseline co-created to help black and brown people research dermatological conditions and find physicians skilled at treating melanin-rich skin. The brand is also providing financial support to clinics serving communities in the vicinity of restored murals.

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Public murals have long been a powerful tool for expressing cultural identity and raising awareness about issues like poverty, inequality and social justice. With Mended Murals, Vaseline is tapping into that tradition to address another critical issue: disparities in care for black and brown skin resulting from systemic racism and healthcare inequities.

From eczema to melanoma, conditions present differently depending on a person's skin color. Underrepresentation of melanin-rich skin in training and research materials contributes to worse outcomes for people of color, including misdiagnoses, untreated conditions and increased mortality rates for skin cancer. Vaseline's initiatives acknowledge those heightened risks and take a practical approach to advocating for change.

Awareness of the disparities in healthcare access and quality experienced by minority populations is growing. How could your brand participate in the movement toward more equitable care? Which resources could you tailor to the needs of underrepresented communities, and how could you leverage culture and identity to ensure your message gets through?

Related: Johnson & Johnson funds library of medical illustrations featuring people of color