Founded in 2007, The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program was born out of the need to address health disparities among African American Men. The program has screened over 30,000 African American men in 800 black-owned barbershops in over 50 cities.
African American men die disproportionately more than any other segment from preventable diseases. Over the past decade, the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has found success in it’s three-pronged approach to community engagement:
- SCREEN: We screen men for diabetes as well as high blood pressure.
- EDUCATE: We educate men about making life style choices.
- REFER: We refer men to local, affordable health care resources.
Our goal is to screen and educate 500,000 African American men for cardiovascular diseases by the year 2020. We are seeking additional barbershops across the country as well as other stakeholders such as fraternities, sororities and churches to join in this effort.
ABOUT THE BLACK BARBERSHOP HEALTH OUTREACH PROGRAM
Welcome to the official site of The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program (BBHOP). BBHOP is the only national barbershop-based program in the country dedicated to empowering African American men. Addressing healthcare disparities and cardiovascular disease in African American men is critical if we are to facilitate balance and growth in our communities. This will l require creativity, innovation and hard work. Because African American men are disproportionately affected by health disparities more than any other ethnic group, a comprehensive approach is needed to address the problem adequately.
The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program was founded by Dr. Bill Releford, a Los Angeles based podiatric surgeon. Dr. Releford has dedicated his life to reducing the diabetes-related amputation rate in high risk populations both domestically as well as internationally. Dr. Releford decided to take his health message out of his office and into black-owned barbershops across the country in December 2007. This was the birth of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program.
The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has overcome many obstacles over the past few years. There is still much work to be done. There are still lives to save!
Persistent and pervasive warped economic models in urban communities is in part responsible for the overall dismal health of African Americans. The hair-care industry is a perfect example. African Americans are by far the most dominate consumer of beauty products in the U.S. However, we do no benefit from the products we consume. This has to change and will change.
The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program will use the existing infrastructure of barbershops to address the health crisis in our communities as well as play a pivotal role in re-directing beauty product dollars back into the African American community.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Dr. Bill J. Releford, a podiatric surgeon based in Los Angeles, is a graduate of the Temple School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia. He began his practice in 1990 and established the Diabetic Foot Institute. Dr. Releford specializes in diabetic amputation prevention in an effort to reduce the astronomical diabetes-related amputation rate experienced by African Americans. This disparity inspired Dr. Releford to dedicate his life to developing innovative medical as well as outreach strategies to promote the adoption of healthier lifestyles that will ultimately decrease the amputation rate in underserved communities. Because Dr. Releford’s mother passed away from diabetes-related complications, he’s made the fight against diabetes his career and “personal assignment”.
Dr. Bill J. Releford launched two innovative initiatives to address health disparities in the African American community. The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program was launched October 2007 out of the need to address health disparities among African American men with the mission to SCREEN, EDUCATE and REFER men to local health care resources. Black men die prematurely from preventable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. To date, the program has screened over 30,000 men in over 750 black owned barbershops in over 50 cities. The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has been used across the country as an effective model to engage underserved and disenfranchised segments of our society.
Additionally, Dr. Releford authored the book 5 Colors A Day to Better Health in February 2009 to address the lack of awareness about healthy food choices and the risk of experiencing complications from cardiovascular disease. 5 Colors A Day to Better Health highlights the benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on consuming at least 5 colors a day. The 5 Colors A Day Initiative aims to promote healthy food choices in churches, barbershop, schools as well as in the workplace.
Dr. Releford’s international outreach includes projects in Haiti, Ghana, Uganda, Brazil, Fiji as well as Costa Rica.