GREENSBORO — The American Heart Association and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) are announcing the expansion of the Hair, Heart & Health barbershop and beauty salon hypertension initiative to Person, Caswell and Alamance counties. This program improves high blood pressure awareness and management, decreasing heart disease and stroke risk factors among systematically disadvantaged populations in North Carolina.

Two additional beauty salons or barbershops in each of the three counties will be included in the expansion. Currently, sixteen barbershops and salons are participating in the Hair, Heart & Health program throughout the Triad. This initiative began in 2020 with the generous support of Blue Cross NC.

Barbershops and beauty salons have always been important social pillars in African American communities. The relationship between a barber and their regular customers is one of mutual trust and respect. This is key when discussing personal health issues and receiving accurate health information.

Through this program, salon and barbershop staff are trained to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke, and to encourage heart healthy behaviors which lead to risk factor management. Stylists also encourage clients to check their blood pressure before or after client appointments at the blood pressure station within the shop and engage their clients with accurate heart health information to assist clients working on their personal risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Due to historic marginalization and systemic racism, health disparities have existed within the African American community for decades. According to the American Heart Association, over half of Black adults have high blood pressure. High blood pressure develops earlier in Black Americans and is often more severe. Black Americans also have a higher prevalence of stroke and highest death rate from stroke than any other racial group.  Increased prevalence of high blood pressure, increased overweight and obesity rates, and increased prevalence of diabetes, makes the focus of this awareness, education and preventative program so vital.

For barbershops and salons in Person, Caswell or Alamance counties that are interested in participating in the Hair, Heart & Health program, email