Barbershops are central to the narrative of Black manhood in the United States.
It is where jokes are cracked, friends are made, issues debated, and, soon, where blood pressure will be tested.
According to the Daily Breeze, Dr. Ronald G. Victor, the head of Cedars-Sinai’s hypertension center, will use a $8.5 million grant to help train Black barbers to check men for high blood pressure.
“Uncontrolled hypertension is one of the biggest health problems facing the African-American community today,” said Victor, the Burns and Allen Chair in Cardiology Research. “Hypertension is called the silent killer because there are no symptoms. We need to find a way to reach out to the community and prevent the serious complications caused by high blood pressure because all too often, by the time a patient finds out they have the condition, the heart and kidneys already have been damaged.”
Read Cedars-Sinai’s statement on the groundbreaking project below:
A Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute physician has been awarded an $8.5 million grant aimed at enlisting African-American barbers in the fight against hypertension, a deadly condition that can cause strokes, heart attacks and organ failure, and which is particularly devastating to African-American men.
Ronald G. Victor, MD, director of the Hypertension Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, was the first to subject increasingly popular barbershop-based health programs to scientific scrutiny with randomized, controlled testing. His study, published in 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that if barbers offered blood pressure checks during men’s haircuts and encouraged patrons with hypertension to follow up with physicians, hundreds of lives could be saved annually.