Taking on Blood Pressure at the Barber Shop

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 5:56am

Pilot Project Targets Health Threat to Black Men

A partnership between Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) and the Edgewood College School of Nursing has generated an innovative health outreach initiative to promote blood pressure screenings to African American men. Two African American owned barbershops are part of a pilot project to both promote and provide the blood pressure screenings.

The shops involved are JP's Hair Design, 584 Grand Canyon Drive on Madison's west side and "Style and Grace," Madison oldest African American-owned barber shop located at 1610 Gilson on Madison's south side. Clarence Brown, a barber at Style and Grace, was trained in how to conduct the screenings himself as well as in how to appropriately refer the men screened for follow up care if needed.

At JP's Hair Design, a larger shop, a public health nurse or student nurse are conducting the screenings and collecting data from participants on other lifestyle factors influencing hypertension and cardiovascular health. The owner of JPs Hair Design, Jeff Patterson, was an apprentice of the owner of "Style and Grace," Mr. Smitty, who at age 86 is still cutting hair. Both men are clearly committed to more than just cutting hair, as exemplified by their enthusiastic participation in this pilot project.

At the end of the 12 week pilot project, the findings will be shared with the shop owners, their patrons, PHMDC and other stakeholders. The findings will be used to help guide future efforts to help reduce this disproportionate health burden on men in the African American Community.

The project started the last week of April and will run through mid-July.


Public Health Madison & Dane County


  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302