LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), community partners and numerous volunteers will host the 7th annual Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative on Saturday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at locally-owned minority barber and beauty shops, colleges and salons in Pulaski County.
Free blood pressure checks, blood glucose, body mass index, cholesterol screenings and other health education information will be available to customers and employees.
Participating salons and barber shops include:
• AR College of Barbering & Hair Design, Little Rock
• AR College of Barbering & Hair Design, North Little Rock
• Erick’s Barber Shop, Little Rock
• Fresh & Tight Styles, Little Rock
• GoodFellas Barber College, Little Rock
• New Image Salon, Little Rock
• New Tyler Barber College, North Little Rock
• Velvatex College of Beauty Culture, Little Rock
The mission of the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative is to increase public awareness about heart disease and stroke. The goal is to empower minorities to better understand hypertension (high blood pressure) prevention and management. The initiative aims to reach at least 500 African American and Hispanic individuals every year.
“Barber and beauty shops are important and trusted information sources within the minority community,” Dr. Michelle Smith, Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities at ADH said. “We want to reduce the high blood pressure and stroke rates in Arkansas. The more people talk about this with their friends, family, neighbors and clients, the more lives we can save. This is what public health is all about.”
In 2017, heart disease and stroke were the first and fifth leading causes of death in Arkansas. In the same year, there were 9,882 deaths due to heart disease and stroke in Arkansas. African Americans are more likely to die from heart disease and stroke than Whites and Hispanics. This greatly contributes to lower life expectancy in the African American population.
Arkansans can lower their risk of heart disease and stroke by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, reducing the amount of salt in food, getting regular exercise and not smoking.
Sponsors and partners for this initiative include: The National Office of Minority Health, Baptist Health, Harding University College of Pharmacy, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, American Heart Association and Be Well Arkansas.