Arkansas has the highest stroke mortality rate in the nation and ranks at or near the bottom for health status among the states. The major risk factors for stroke are hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Data also shows that only 75% of those with high blood pressure are aware of it and of these, only 69% are receiving treatment. Further, of those receiving treatment only 59% are adequately controlled. Thus, the overall blood pressure control rate in the state is less than 30%. In addition, only 62% of diabetics in Arkansas are aware of their diagnosis, only 45% of known diabetics are receiving treatment and only 28% of all diabetics have their condition under control. To address the inordinate burden of hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and other heart conditions on African American and Latino individuals, OMHDD will expand upon the pilot project they developed in 2012 titled the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative.

    Under previous funding, OMHHD was able to host three Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiatives. With this new funding, OMHDD will transform this pilot project into an effective community-based model that can improve health outcomes in geographical hotspots and address health disparities that are impacting minorities in Arkansas. OMHHD will modify the hypertension screening/management of black men in barbershops model to make it more inclusive. African Americans and Latinos of both genders will be included in the program and interventions will be implemented/monitored by OMHHD. The intention is to provide access to free chronic disease screening to high-risk minority population groups in the selected Red Counties. Specifically, OMHHD plans to provide blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and BMI screenings; lifestyle modification and counseling for hypertensive, smoking, and obese individuals; referrals for those without insurance or a provider; and, collect data using customer survey and nursing referral forms. OMHHD will track those who receive referrals for risk factors reduction and hypertension management, and monitor their adherence (or non-adherence) to treatment and/or lifestyle changes to reduce obesity and smoking habits by improving hypertension status. Specific data collections tools will be used to collect comprehensive data on the participants’ medical history, access to care, risk factors, knowledge and practice, and screening results. With a primary reporting focus on hypertension, obesity, and smoking, data will also be collected for screening results on blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, Body Mass Index (BMI), smoking, physical activity, and nutrition risks. Following the screening, individuals will be tracked with the goal of lowering hypertension rates with proper treatment and reduction of obesity and smoking rates.