Barbershop BP intervention lives on in Toledo

Six barbershops in the Toledo, Ohio, area have implemented CV awareness programs that specifically target black men, CBS affiliate WTOL reported Feb. 14.

The effort, enabled by healthcare company ProMedica, follows in the footsteps of the groundbreaking “barbershop intervention” that was first introduced at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific sessions back in 2018. In that study, Ronald G. Vitor, MD, and colleagues brought specialist care to 52 local, black-owned barbershops by randomizing 132 regular patrons to receive monitoring and medication from a pharmacist who visited the barbershop. Black barbershops were targeted since black men are at a disproportionately high risk for hypertension.

Men who were seen by the pharmacist saw mean drops of 27 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 18 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.

In Toledo, ProMedica helped train barbers to integrate men’s health into the conversation, even certifying barbers in CPR.

“We, as African Americans, we don’t think we need to go to the doctor,” patron Barry Willis told WTOL. “As black, macho men we don’t think we have to go to the doctor.”

But barber Andre Johnson said the intervention is an important opportunity.

“It’s alarming knowing that we can help and that we’ve got a say-so on someone's not feeling well and we can give them some idea, some pointers on where to go, where to be seen,” he said. “Give them some of the statistics, some of the numbers.”

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