Yale New Haven Health Heart and Vascular Center and the American Heart Association to launch Barbershop Blood Pressure Program in New Haven

The American Heart Association (AHA), dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities and the Heart and Vascular Center of Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS) are working together to make a sustainable impact on the cardiovascular health, specifically hypertension, in the most impacted communities in New Haven, Connecticut.

In New Haven County, 26% of adults live with hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. In under-resourced communities, that number climbs to 29.42%. To help combat these statistics, effective July 8, a blood pressure monitoring initiative will be offered to New Haven barbershop patrons of Willie C’s Unisex Barbershop, 770 Dixwell Avenue and Dexter’s Unisex Barbershop, 716 Dixwell Avenue.

Clinical healthcare staff from Yale New Haven Hospital’s Preventive Cardiovascular Health Program will be on site to take blood pressure readings and discuss next steps for those who may need intervention, including referral to a healthcare provider at YNHHS. Educational materials and resources will be available at both locations to bring greater awareness of the risk factors associated with uncontrolled high blood pressure.

“The Yale New Haven Heart and Vascular Center is very proud to partner with the American Heart Association on this very important heath initiative,” said Erica Spatz, MD, director, Yale New Haven Hospital Heart and Vascular Center for Preventive Cardiovascular Health Program and associate professor at the Yale University School of Medicine. “Hypertension is extremely common among Black men and can lead to devastating outcomes such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Yet many men are unaware they have high blood pressure, or do not want to come in for care. We have an enormous opportunity to do better. The barbers are amazing – they are community leaders, trusted confidants, and care a great deal about the health and well-being of their patrons. They are such an important link in raising our community’s health and we are very proud to work with them. Screening for high blood pressure is necessary, but not sufficient. We need to build easy and trustful care pathways to control blood pressure and improve men’s health, and that is what we are doing.”

Uncontrolled high blood pressure, the leading cause of death and disability in Black men, occurs when the force of the circulating blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. In many cases, there are no symptoms and an estimated 46% of adults with high blood pressure are undiagnosed. For this reason, it is known as the “silent killer.” The rates of hypertension are higher in under-resourced populations and communities of color and, in Connecticut, the rates in the Black population exceed the national average.

“The goal of this program is to develop a network of trusted community leaders to address high rates of hypertension through education, connections to care, and self-measured blood pressure monitoring across our defined service areas,” said Adria Giordano, American Heart Association Executive Director. “By working with the Yale New Haven Health Heart and Vascular Center, we are able to reach and serve those communities who can benefit from this convenient program right in their own backyard.”

The American Heart Association is also working with the Heart and Vascular Center at Yale New Haven Health to provide meaningful experiences through additional programs and initiatives that will drive equitable health impact through priority areas including women’s health care, COVID-19, tobacco and vaping cessation, and access to health care for all.

For more information on the risks for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, go to www.heart.org/bloodpressure.