NC Barber Fights Health Misinformation Among Men
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Research shows Black men are less likely to have a primary-care doctor and regular checkups.
One barber in Greensboro said haircuts can be a time to discuss health misinformation and even check blood pressure.
Anthony Pettiford, owner of United Barbershop in Greensboro, said barbers can help educate their clients on the risk factors and warning signs for heart disease and stroke.
"What I've noticed about the Black community is a lot of men do not like going to the doctor," Pettiford observed. "And I've seen it firsthand that they don't like going to the doctors. We've lost quite a few customers that have come through the shop to strokes, heart attacks."
Pettiford's barbershop is one of seven shops and salons in the Triad that are part of the Hair,
Heart & Health program, an initiative led by the American Heart Association with support from
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. More information on the program and participating barbershops is online at heart.org/triad.
More than half of Black adults nationwide have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Pettiford pointed out he provides blood pressure checks and explains blood pressure readings to interested clients.
"Once you bring awareness, hopefully they pick up or may become concerned about their own personal health," Pettiford explained. "You try to put that on the floor to let them know the importance of health."
He added he respects his patients' viewpoints and friendship, first and foremost, even if they do not agree on the importance of visiting the doctor.
"I believe a barber is more like a psychiatrist," Pettiford contended. "For them to even get in your chair there's got to be a trust factor. And once you win the trust, that's how I have developed my relationships throughout the years."
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found 56% of Black Americans said they have had at least one negative experience at the doctor's office, including having to speak up to get the proper care and being treated with less respect than other patients.
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