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Invited Commentary | ONLINE FIRST

A Bald Fade and a BP Check:  Comment on “Effectiveness of a Barbershop-Based Intervention for Improving Hypertension Control in Black Men”

Clyde W. Yancy, MD
Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(4):350-352. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.404.
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As a black man with HTN who has frequented the same community barber for 17 years, I reviewed with great fascination the article by Victor et al. I typically get a “bald fade” haircut, which camouflages my frontal baldness, and sit quietly as the barbers and other patrons address the burning issues of the day. More importantly, the black barbershop experience is a remarkable social barometer that provides gut-check social commentary, defines a “captive audience,” and represents a commensurate “teachable moment”; but is this an appropriate venue to convey meaningful health messages and/or conduct health screening? The investigators of the BARBER-1 study suggest that it might be and are to be commended for taking the provocative initiative to study this venue as a viable one not only to increase awareness of HTN in a community at high risk for cardiovascular disease but also to create a model of improved care for that same community. Kudos.

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