The Clinical Research Forum recognized the Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart Institute with a 2019 Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Award for its study aimed at developing a blood-pressure control program for African-American men in the comfortable and convenient environments of their barbershops.
In just six short months, the study – first published in the New England Journal of Medicine and led by the late hypertension expert Ronald G. Victor, MD – improved the outcomes and control of high blood pressure in more than 60 percent of participants.
The 12-month data published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Circulation backs up the results, proving that a pharmacist-led, barbershop-based medical intervention can successfully lower blood pressure in African-American men who face a higher risk of disability and premature death due to uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Not only are black men disproportionately affected by hypertension, they’re also the least likely population to seek treatment.
Nearly 64% of the study participants who worked with their barber and a pharmacist at the barbershop were able to lower their blood pressure.
Barber Eric Muhammad says that’s one reason he was so enthusiastic about the study. He’d hosted other single-day awareness events about hypertension, but Dr. Victor’s study aimed to find a long-term solution for treating high blood pressure.
“High blood pressure has cost the lives and health of a lot of good men,” Muhammad said. “What’s different about this study is it looks at bringing down blood pressure by using the men’s community—their friends, family, and support group.”
The collaboration between physicians, pharmacists and barbers showed that medical intervention in neighborhood settings can profoundly improve the health of hard-to-reach, underserved communities. Cedars-Sinai was nominated for the award by researchers at UCLA, the University of California, Los Angeles.