U.S. Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program Launches 2012 Tour in California this May

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Volunteers will Screen over 1,500 African American Men for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure throughout State of California

An image taken during The Black Barbershop Tour

Cardiovascular screening in the barbershop

For decades, the black barbershop has served as a centralized gathering place where African American men feel comfortable discussing the most important issues that impact their lives: politics, social trends, family and finances.

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The Diabetic Amputation Prevention Foundation (DAP) is proud to announce the return of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program (BBHOP), which kicks off in the state of California, Saturday, May 12th, 2012.

From 11AM-4PM, the organization will facilitate statewide screenings in over 75 black owned barbershops from San Diego to Sacramento—screening over 1,500 African American men for diabetes and high blood pressure. Participants will also receive healthy lifestyle education and medical resources for local clinics and physicians.

"The need to address health care disparities in African American men is paramount in light of the fact that they have the lowest life expectancy of any group in the U.S.," says Dr. Bill J. Releford, D.P.M., founder of the DAP Foundation. "For decades, the black barbershop has served as a centralized gathering place where African American men feel comfortable discussing the most important issues that impact their lives: politics, social trends, family and finances. Now, we are introducing an important discussion of health and the critical need for health awareness."

Since its inception in 2007, the tour has visited over 750 barbershops in 50 cities and 13 states and will continue its mission to screen 500,000 African American men by the end of 2014. This unique and innovative grassroots program works strategically with black-owned barbershops, because it represents such a cultural institution of familiarity and trust among African American males—making it the most effective avenue to disseminate health education information.

Compared to the general public, it is African American males who have a higher risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 3.7 million (14.7 percent) African Americans ages 20 years or older have diabetes, while statistics show that forty percent (40 percent) of African American men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to twenty-one percent (21 percent) of white men.

Partners for this leg of the tour are Anthem Blue Cross, one of California’s top health insurance providers and Medtronic, the leader in medical technology and pioneering therapies. By joining forces with these and other influential medical organizations, BBHOP is equipped to provide education, testing and prevention--more confident than ever that it will reach its screening goal by 2014.

Dr. Bill Releford organized the initiative to empower African American men to better understand cardiovascular diseases. As he travels across the country to spread awareness, he welcomes corporations, small businesses and county facilities to get involved in the mission. To learn more about The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program log-on to http://www.blackbarbershop.org and please remember to support this statewide effort on May 12th.

About Dr. Bill Releford
As Founder of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program and the Releford Foot and Ankle Institute, Dr. Bill Releford is a visionary and industry pioneer. He began his private practice in 1990 and has dedicated his life’s work exclusively to the reduction of diabetes-related amputations in high-risk populations. Dr. Releford and his efforts have recently been highlighted in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, THE VIEW, THE DOCTORS, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as well as the TODAY SHOW and more. Additionally, Dr. Releford's innovative community organizing strategies culminated into an invitation from President Obama to attend the White House Super Bowl Party in 2011. To learn more about Dr. Relford and his work visit http://www.drreleford.com.

About the Diabetic Amputation Prevention Foundation (DAP)
The DAP Foundation's African American Men's Outreach Program seeks to partner with community groups and organizations to reduce the incidence of health conditions that adversely affect African American males by utilizing education, prevention and early detection through screening activities. DAP's efforts have already been successfully duplicated in other metropolitan areas, such as Oakland, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Baltimore. For more information on participating or sponsorship opportunities, please visit http://www.blackbarbershop.org.

About Medtronic
Medtronic, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology –– alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. Through our key businesses, we partner with medical professionals to develop life-changing technologies that improve the way chronic diseases are treated. While much of our work happens at the business level, we have several cross-business groups to help us leverage best practices, knowledge, and technologies across the company. Learn more at http://www.medtronic.com.

About Anthem Blue Cross
Developed from a grassroots approach to financing hospital and physician services, Blue Cross of California and its family of companies regulate the Blue brand, administer licenses, and help coordinate national programs to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies so they may provide local leadership and solutions to promote safe, high quality and affordable care. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. Log-on to http://www.anthem.com.

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