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Vanderbilt researchers use barbershops to conduct heart disease study

Posted at 10:55 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 23:55:43-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Vanderbilt University researchers are using barbershops to find men who might be at risk for serious heart problems.

Beginning on Tuesday, at no cost, researchers will start taking people's blood pressure. They're hoping to find 60 men to follow for the next year to conduct a heart disease study.

"Most men will go to the barbershop once or twice a month but they won’t go to the doctor for years," said Cardiologist Dr. Henry Okafor.

He is hoping these barbershops might be the key to saving lives when it comes to diagnosing hyper-tension issues in the African American community.

Michael McLean has spent two decades cutting hair at Masters on Clarksville Highway. He knows

McLean knows his customers aren't the kind to schedule an appointment at the first sign of trouble.

"A lot of my people my age, we aren’t going to no doctor. In here, you feel more comfortable being in the barbershop, knowing what’s going on, knowing us...," said McLean.

But that's what the researchers are counting on. If they can find these men out in the community, without forcing them to go to the doctor, they can diagnose heart problems early. Maybe prevent heart attacks and strokes.