The following is a news release from the TTUHSC:

On any given day you can find PJ and his barbers behind their chairs cutting customer’s hair. Long-time loyal customers now bring their sons to get a cut from their favorite barber. The relationship between a barber and his customer is almost like family. Conversations about work, school and life are common as the barbers give the customer a perfect cut.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center medical students have worked with barbershops and beauty salons to tackle a silent killer — high blood pressure. The Barber Shop Blood Pressure Group allows customers to do one-stop shopping when it comes to their barber and their health. The group gives the community the opportunity to have their blood pressure and BMI checked as they wait on their barber or beautician.

Students work to promote awareness of the importance of the issues of high blood pressure, or hypertension, and provide health information. E.L. Domingo-Johnson’s father died of heart failure at an early age. Now as a second-year medical student and president of the Barber Shop Blood Pressure Group, he sees the importance and need for a project like this for communities. 

“My family is an example of who we are trying to reach,” Domingo-Johnson said. “My father was African American and as a kid I went with him to get hair cuts at the barber regularly. I was at a barber shop way more often than I was at a doctor’s office, which makes programs like this so important because we are finding people who may have not received the care that they needed.” 

The medical students respect the relationship customers have with their barber or beautician, who are motivators to give the customer a nudge to get their blood pressure checked while they wait. It takes no time out of their day to learn if they are at risk so they can seek appropriate health care. 

The Barber Shop Blood Pressure Group was created 10 years ago by TTUHSC School of Medicine students Kweku Hazel and Soheil Daftarian.

(News release from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center)