A barber-based intervention for hypertension in African American men: Design of a group randomized trial

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Barbershops constitute potential sites for community health promotion programs targeting hypertension (HTN) in African American men but such programs previously have not been formally evaluated.


A randomized trial (ClinicalTrials.gov no. NCT00325533) will test whether a continuous HTN detection and medical referral program conducted by influential peers (barbers) in a receptive community setting (barbershops) can promote treatment-seeking behavior and thus lower blood pressure (BP) among the regular customers with HTN. Barbers will offer a BP check with each haircut and encourage appropriate medical referral using real stories of other customers modeling the desired behaviors. A cohort of 16 barbershops will go through a pretest/posttest group-randomization protocol. Serial cross-sectional data collection periods (10 weeks each) will be conducted by interviewers to obtain accurate snapshots of HTN control in each barbershop before and after 10 months of either barber-based intervention or no active intervention. The primary outcome is BP control: BP <135/85 mm Hg (nondiabetic subjects) and <130/80 mm Hg (diabetic subjects) measured in the barbershop during the 2 data collection periods. The multilevel analysis plan uses hierarchical models to assess the effect of covariates on HTN control and secondary outcomes while accounting for clustering of observations within barbershops.


By linking community health promotion to the health care system, this program could serve as a new model for HTN control and cardiovascular risk reduction in African American men on a nationwide scale.

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