Heart disease and stroke are the second and fourth leading causes of death among black men in the Mississippi Delta region. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke and disproportionately affects black men in this region. The Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative implemented a program called Barbers Reaching Out to Help Educate on Routine Screenings (B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S.) initiative. The goal of B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. is to encourage barbers to routinely screen adult black men in the Mississippi Delta region, thereby increasing awareness of high blood pressure, and to refer clients with high blood pressure to a health care provider.
Among the 686 black men who received blood pressure screenings and referrals in the barbershops through the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. program, 14.7 percent had normal blood pressure, 48.5 percent had prehypertension, and 36.4 percent had high blood pressure. Only 35 percent reported having a personal doctor, and only 43 percent reported having health insurance. Of the men screened, 34.3 percent were referred to a health care provider for follow up. The maps featured in this GIS Snapshot indicate that many of the participating barbershops are located in counties with high rates of heart disease mortality and large populations of black men. However, the maps also show counties with high rates that have large populations of black men that lack barbershop participation (Tunica, Quitman, Humphreys). The lowest county heart disease death rate in the Mississippi Delta region is still substantially higher than the average for the United States.
The study is published in Preventing Chronic Disease.