Madam Speaker, I rise today to introduce a resolution that recognizes the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, a unique initiative that seeks to improve health outcomes in black communities across the country through education, community involvement, research, and culturally relevant strategies.African American men are especially vulnerable to the impacts of racial health disparities, with the lowest average life expectancy of any group in the United States. Due to various factors, including inadequate access to quality health care services, African American men suffer from disproportionately high rates of hypertension, diabetes, and other health conditions that are largely preventable and manageable. While a lack of trust, culture, and access to routine primary care has prevented many black men from significantly benefiting from interventions and treatments for these conditions, black-owned barbershops have served as cultural institutions in the black community for generations and provide health advocates with an opportunity to empower and educate black men about their health in a trusted and familiar space. In 2007, the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program was launched by the Diabetic Amputation Prevention Foundation in an effort to increase public awareness about cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension among black men.
By partnering with black-owned barbershops, as well as local leaders, facilities, and organizations, the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program provides culturally specific education and health services to black men. These include screening for hypertension and diabetes; disseminating information on early detection, management, and prevention; conducting research; and referring men to facilities that can address additional health and medical needs.Since its founding, the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has expanded its initial focus on hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease to include prostate cancer, and continues to build upon its success. To date, it has screened over 10,000 men in 230 black-owned barbershops for diabetes, hypertension, and prostate cancer across the country. The project’s organizers plan to screen 20,000 men in 2010 and 500,000 men by 2012. Furthermore, the Black Barbershop Health Program will also target black-owned beauty shops to reach black women, and take a holistic approach to diagnosing, preventing, and managing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes in the black community.
My resolution commends the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program for its valuable contribution to community health and the national fight against racial health disparities. In addition, my resolution expresses a commitment to supporting organizations, programs, and initiatives like the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program that empower individuals to become informed health advocates in their communities.Madam Speaker, culturally competent health education and delivery methods are essential to preventing and combating racial health disparities, and to maximizing the effectiveness of interventions and treatments that seek to achieve and support better health at the community level. I commend the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program for the important work it does and remain committed to supporting community-oriented approaches to health reform in health legislation and initiatives arising at both the state and federal levels.
Resolution introduced by Representative Alcee L. Hastings
Black male health statistics:
• Black men live 7.1 years less than other racial groups.
• They have higher death rates than women for all leading causes of death.
• They experience disproportionately higher death rates in all the leading causes of death.
• 40% of black men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to 21% of white men.
• African American men have the highest prostate cancer occurrence rates in the world.
• Black Men are 5 times more likely to die from HIV / AIDS.
The mission of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program is to increase public awareness about health care disparities in under-served communities through culturally specific education, research and community based programs. Our goal is to empower the African-American community to better understand various diseases, their complications as well as the standard of care they deserve as it relates to prevention and management.
The primary objective of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program is three-fold:
1. Screen: Cardiovascular Disease ( diabetes and hypertension)
2. Educate: Preventive education about diet and exercise as well as education about the signs and symptoms of common chronic diseases. The “PEP Talk” or Prostate Education Program will inform men about their choices in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.
3. Refer: Through the “Real Black Book/Medical Resource Guide,” men will be referred to local health care providers that offer free or low-cost health services.
About Dr. Bill Releford
Dr. Bill Releford began private practice in 1990 and started the Diabetic Foot Institute, a facility dedicated exclusively to the reduction of diabetes-related amputations in high-risk populations. Most patients were oblivious to the standard of care that should be expected during the occurrence of a diabetic foot complication or the unfortunate recommendation for lower-extremity amputation.
Dr. Releford discovered that in approximately 70-85 percent of cases, amputation was recommended either prematurely or should not have been recommended at all. His entire practice became and remains dedicated exclusively to diabetic limb salvage. His limb salvage success and philosophy were formalized in the development of the Daniel Freeman Wound Care Center where platelet-derived growth factor therapy was used to facilitate the healing of chronic wounds via angiogenesis. A multi-disciplinary approach to limb salvage was exercised where vascular surgeons, infectious disease specialists, plastic surgeons, endocrinologists and podiatrists would collaborate solely for the benefit of salvaging a foot at risk of amputation