Association of Black Cardiologists Honors Dr. Bill Releford

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Prestigious ACTS Award Recognizes Service to Eliminate Health Disparities

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I am very passionate about the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program and the lives that have been saved.

At a recent gala in Washington, D.C., the Association of Black Cardiologists presented Dr. Bill Releford, D.P.M., with the prestigious ACTS (Access to Care, Treatment and Services) to Eliminate Health Disparities award. Other honorees at the Saving Hearts for Generations dinner included Dr. Mehmet Oz and Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth.

This annual event recognizes the efforts of individuals and groups to reduce the cardiovascular health crisis among African Americans. In particular, it highlighted the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, an initiative Dr. Releford launched to address the disproportionate number of African American men with undetected cardiovascular disease.

Says André Williams, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Black Cardiologists, to Dr. Releford, “We are honored to present this award to you in light of your demonstrated and consistent support to public health improvement.”

The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program was born out of frustration. Says Dr. Releford, “When I realized how hard it was to spread the message of preventative health care to many African American men, I decided to take screenings to a setting where they felt comfortable… the barbershop.”

Since its inception, the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has screened more than 30,000 men in 26 cities in over 675 black-owned barbershops. Its goal is to screen over 500,000 men by the end of 2015.

About Dr. Releford
Dr. Bill J. Releford, a podiatric surgeon based in Los Angeles, is a graduate of the Temple School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia. He began practice in 1990 and established the Diabetic Foot Institute. The extraordinarily high number of diabetes-related amputations experienced in the African American community inspired Releford to dedicate his life to diabetic limb salvage, and to developing innovative medical as well as advocacy strategies to increase health awareness and decrease diabetes and the amputation rate in underserved communities.

About the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program
Dr. Releford launched The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program in October 2007 to address health care disparities among African American men. Its mission is to empower African American men to better understand and prevent diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension through screening, education, and referrals to local health-care resources.

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