Southern Calif. event offers free diabetes and high blood pressure screenings to African American men at barbershops

LOS ANGELES /California Newswire/ — Some 100 barbershops throughout Los Angeles and the Inland Empire will be bustling with extra activity this Saturday, November 7, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when Dr. Bill J. Releford, D.P.M., founder of The Diabetic Amputation Prevention (DAP) Foundation, launches the Los Angeles Initiative of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program (BBHOP). The BBHOP (, sponsored by a grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will offer free diabetes and high blood pressure screenings to African American men who normally visit their local barbers just anticipating the usual haircut.

Releford and ShepherdIn addition, participants will be provided education about healthy lifestyle alternatives along with PAD screenings and PEP Talk: the Prostate Education Project will address the issue of prostate cancer by distributing culturally appropriate educational materials as well.

In an effort to drive the need for health care and education celebrity support has been enlisted. Sherri Shepherd, co-host of “The View,” recorded a public service announcement on KJLH Radio, a station owned by Stevie Wonder. Celebrity participants The Whispers, comedians Kim Coles and Tommy Davidson, actor T.C. Carson, and performers Yo Yo and Montell Jordan are just a sampling of the confirmed talent to visit some of the local shops on Saturday. Former Los Angeles Laker, Norm Nixon, named national spokesperson for the BBHOP, will be on hand.

Ultimately, the BBHO’s goal is to screen more than 500,000 African American men by 2012. This unique and innovative grassroots program works with black-owned barbershops, which represent a cultural institution of familiarity and trust in many communities as an effective avenue to disseminate health education information. The program has already tested close to 10,000 African American men in 23 cities including New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta and Harlem.

Compared to the general public, African American males have a higher risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 3.7 million African Americans, ages 20 years or older, have diabetes, while statistics show that 40 percent of African American men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to 21 percent of white men.

The BBHOP, in partnership with Charles Drew University, U.C.L.A., Vasamed and Entrahealthsystems, will offer free screenings throughout Los Angeles including the following locations:

- The New Millennium BS, 4310 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
- In The Cut, 220 East Regent St., Inglewood
- Next Cuts Beauty & Barber, 5712 West Pico, L.A.
- Legends Barbershop, 5366 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.
- Inglewood’s Finest, 122 S. Market St., Inglewood.

The BBHOP, in partnerships with Kaiser Permanente African American Professional Organization and the Healthy Heritage Movement, Inc., will offer screenings throughout the Inland Empire at:

- Da Mood Barbership, 205 E. Mission Blvd., Pomona
- Good Time Barbershop, 924 E. Holt Ave, Pomona
- N u Flava, Pomona
- Hat’s Off, 21065 Bear Valley Road, Apple Valley
- Second To None, 12384 Palmdale Road, #103, Victorville
- Signature Barbershop, 12555 Mariposa Road, Ste. F, Victorville
- T’s Barbershop, 15028 7th St. Ste. 2, Victorville
- Who’s Next, 21280 Brar Valley Rd., #115, Hesperia.

Founded by Dr. Bill J. Releford, D.P.M. the BBHOP seeks to empower African American men to better understand cardiovascular diseases through education, testing and prevention. The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program has effectively addressed the health concerns of Black men in nearly 200 black owned barbershops since December 2007.

For additional information and to view a list of all the participating barbershop locations, go to .

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