On Monday, December 9, 2019, the American Heart Association of Greater Maryland held a community conversation about hypertension as part of the formal launch of our newest community blood pressure kiosk sponsored by CVS. The program, Barbershops and BP: Fading Out Hypertension, brought together barbers, community members and clinicians to discuss the disproportionate rate of high blood pressure, commonly known as the silent killer, in African American men and what can be done to combat the epidemic.
The American Heart Association is working with community partners like Live Chair Inc. and Living Classrooms to bring programs like Barbershops and BP to address hypertension in Baltimore and yesterday’s conversation was an example of how we are working together. Held at the UA House at Fayette Operated by Living Classrooms, Travis Street, Director of Family and Community Engagement kicked off the day with a personal testimony of being diagnosed with hypertension at eight years old. Travis shared that he checks his blood pressure daily at the newly installed kiosk at “the House” because of the convenience and his commitment to taking charge of his health!
Pioneered by Dr. Elijah Saunders in Baltimore over 35 years ago, utilizing barbershops as community centers to address hypertension, has seen a recent resurgence. As a pillar of many communities, many men have decades long, close relationships with their barbers and see them as part of their regular routine. Dr. Sharon Saunders, wife of the late Dr. Saunders, spoke at yesterday’s event about his legacy and her pride in seeing his work ripple nationwide. It was an especially appropriate that we relaunched this program on what would have been Dr. Saunders‘ 85th birthday.
We enjoyed a robust conversation with the barbers and our panel of experts which included: Dr. Tony Boonyasai, Johns Hopkins, Dr. William Ashley, LifeBridge Health, Andrew Suggs, Live Chair and Shanile Shakoor, Nile Style.
The American Heart Association, Live Chair and Living Classrooms Foundation strive to empower barbers to make a health impact in the lives of their clients and the communities they serve through the Barbershops and BP program and the newly installed blood pressure kiosk at the Living Classrooms location.
For more information about the work Live Chair is doing in the barbershops watch here.
For more information about the American Heart Association’s role supporting the work in the barbershops watch here.