Barber Shops Help To Eliminate Health Disparities

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A mix of haircuts with blood pressure screenings are becoming a healthy combination.

Andrea Fujii explains how this combination is also helping to end racial divides.

At a unique barber shop, patrons can have their blood pressure screened one day each week.

“We got quite a few people who got their blood pressure checked, quite a few, so it’s going to help,” said shop owner, Marc Mumford.

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown demonstrated the program on Thursday, in which 20 barber shops around the city offer free screenings. This is part of the state’s plan to end ethnic and racial disparity in health care.

“For where we are and how far we’ve come as a nation and a state, it is shocking that these disparities continue to plague us,” said Lt. Brown.

For example, the health department says African-American men are at a 12.7 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease than white men.

“We can and must do more to protect the health of our citizens, regardless what their zip code,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The state has implemented a new work group to find solutions, and screenings like this are a start.

“It’s critical that everybody does it because there’s a lot of folks that are dying from not getting their blood pressure checked,” said Lt. Brown.

The city health department also notes that African-American women are at a 14.6 percent higher risk than white women of dying from heart disease.

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