IU Health staff rock pink hair to support breast cancer patients

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Employees at IU Health are using a newfound freedom in their dress code to help brighten the days of cancer patients.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so nurses and team members are showing their support by dying their hair pink — a color often associated with awareness for the disease.

“I think it’s great to show support to our patients,” said Dr. Tarah Ballinger, a breast oncologist at IU Health. “It’s increasing awareness, but particularly in the Cancer Center, it’s really a signal of support to the people who are going through it.”

IU Health recently relaxed their dress code, which now allows nurses and team members to proudly bear tattoos and their hair color of choice.

With the new dress code, staff are rallying to show support of their patients.

“It’s been good for staff morale,” said Brian Swayze, a clinical nurse manager at IU Health. “We’re big proponents of the new professional image policy, and a lot of staff love that. So, this has kind of been a fun thing besides going to a good cause.”

A few hundred employees rocked temporary pink hair on Wednesday to raise awareness of the importance of early detection, to advocate for a cure and show support for the millions of breast cancer patients, survivors and their families.

“It’s both to be aware of changes in your own breasts and the best screening plan for you in terms of prevention, but it’s also about awareness for how far we still have to go for patients who are going through breast cancer, the research dollars we still need and the gaps that we still need to fill,” said Dr. Ballinger.