Barbershops as hypertension detection, referral, and follow-up centers for black men

Paul L. Hess, Jason S. Reingold, Jennifer Jones, Melissa A. Fellman, Premere Knowles, Joseph E. Ravenell, Stacey Kim, Jamie Raju, Erica Ruger, Sharonda Clark, Chibuike Okoro, Ore Ogunji, Patricia Knowles, David Leonard, Ruth P. Wilson, Robert W. Haley, Keith C. Ferdinand, Anne Freeman, Ronald G. Victor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Barbershops constitute potential sites for community health promotion programs targeting hypertension (HTN) in black men, but such programs have not been evaluated previously. Here we conducted 2 nonrandomized feasibility studies to determine whether an enhanced intervention program of continuous blood pressure (BP) monitoring and peer-based health messaging in a barbershop lowers BP more than standard screening and health education (study 1) and can be implemented by barbers rather than research personnel (study 2). In study 1, we measured changes in HTN treatment and BP in regular barbershop customers with poorly controlled HTN assigned for 8 months to either an enhanced intervention group (n=36) or a contemporaneous comparison group (n=27). Groups were similar at baseline. BP fell by 16±3/9±2 mm Hg in the enhanced intervention group but was unchanged in the comparison group (P<0.0001, adjusted for age and body mass index). HTN treatment and control increased from 47% to 92% (P<0.001) and 19% to 58% (P<0.001), respectively, in the enhanced intervention group, whereas both remained unchanged in the comparison group. In study 2, barbers were trained to administer the enhanced intervention continuously for 14 months to the entire adult black male clientele (n=321) in 1 shop. Six barbers recorded 8953 BP checks during 11 066 haircuts, thus demonstrating a high degree of intervention fidelity. Furthermore, among 107 regular customers with HTN, treatment and control increased progressively with increasing intervention exposure (P<0.01). Taken together, these data suggest that black-owned barbershops can be transformed into effective HTN detection, referral, and follow-up centers. Further research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1046
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Blacks
  • Blood pressure measurement/ monitoring
  • Hypertension
  • Population science
  • Special populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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