By Marnette Federis
Oakland’s Center Stage Salon was buzzing like any other busy Saturday morning last weekend. But salon clients weren’t there just to get haircuts. They also lined up to get their blood pressure and glucose levels checked.
It was all part of a nationwide effort — The Black Barbershop Program. The goal was to screen African American men for high blood pressure and diabetes by going to the place where you would easily find them – at the barbershop. The screenings are free and volunteers also gave out health information.
“I’d like to live a hundred years,” said James Fulbright, one of the hairstylists at the salon who was screened for high blood pressure and diabetes. “So I just try to keep myself healthy and I needed to be checked.”
According to program organizers, African American men suffer worse health outcomes compared to other racial groups. For starters, 40 percent of black men die prematurely from heart disease compared to 21 percent of white men.
Program organizers say African American men face a number of barriers and access issues when it comes to health including lack of affordable services, poor health education and insufficient services that cater to black men. Continue reading