Barbershops Play Important Role in Controlling Diabetes and High Blood Pressure Among African American Men

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National outreach program lead by Dr. Bill J. Releford helps to save lives of African American Men by using neighborhood barbershops.

African American Men, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Dr. Bill Releford

Cardiovascular screening in the barbershop

I didn't know I had high blood pressure until I went to the barbershop and got it checked, states Ron P from Monroe, Louisiana

A recent study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association shows the effectiveness of using local barbershops to control high blood pressure and diabetes in African-American men.

African American men are diagnosed later and die more often from a variety of diseases compared to women and other racial/ethnic groups. These disparities have been acknowledged and well documented within the research literature.1 Emerging studies have even begun to elucidate the reasons for these disparities, including significant barriers to awareness and screening. Low priority of health concerns, limited time, poor information/lack of knowledge, perception of treatment as experimental, negative beliefs and mistrust of the health care system, geographic isolation, and cultural insensitivity among many providers have all been implicated in moderating the health-seeking behavior among African American men..

The study, conducted by the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, shows that by screening, educating and referring men to the doctor, African-American men can better control their high blood pressure and diabetes. Lead author and founder of the black barbershop health outreach program, Dr. Bill J Releford, organized the grassroots effort because of his experience in diabetes related foot complications in African-Americans. “Because African-Americans experience diabetes related amputations disproportionately more than other groups I decided to take my health advocacy beyond the walls of my practice and into the streets”, states Dr. Releford who is a practicing podiatric surgeon in Los Angeles.

The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has screened over 7000 men in 300 barbershops from over 20 cities across 6 states.

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