A recent study found barbershops an effective place to address African American health issues. It found that for black men with high blood pressure, a barber can make some inroads just by offering to take a customer’s blood pressure and urge action if it’s high. But he can have twice the impact if he shepherds his clients toward a doctor’s care and rewards them for going.
And deputizing the barber—an already respected figure in many black men’s lives—to dispense solid health advice and steer his patrons toward medical care is a strategy that works, according to a study out Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
If all of the nation’s 18,000 African American owned barbershops put in place an active program to screen clients for high blood pressure and steer them aggressively toward care, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute’s Dr. Ronald G. Victor estimates that some 800 fewer African American men would suffer a heart attack, 550 fewer would have a stroke, and 900 fewer would die—in the first year alone.