If you walk into almost any barbershop, you know what you're getting in to: a haircut and maybe some small talk.
But, at Howard’s Hair Studio for men on Cleveland Avenue in Niagara Falls, master barber Howard Ivey offers a free blood pressure screening as well. Ivey's shop is one of six in the cataract city offering the free screenings thanks to Millennium Collaborative Care and the Community Health Center of Niagara.
Program organizers said they got the idea after hearing about its success in Rochester. “A lot of people are scared to come into a doctor’s office or a health center because of the information. So, let's take it out in the field and do some screenings where they feel comfortable,” said Community Health Center spokeswoman, Felicia Johnson.
Ivey logs all of the data in a binder. The Community Health Center collects it about every other week. Doctors will analyze the information, and if necessary, contact the client. “When we get a client into the Community Health Center, we focus on the hypertension first. But, we do an overall body check,” Johnson explained.
“I had a guy this morning say he hasn't had his blood pressure taken in two years,” Ivey said.
Clients like Jeffrey Ridgeway say they're grateful for the cut and the concern. “I check my blood pressure in the morning and in the evening,” he said. “My instrument might be off a little. So, I compare them and, it's good. I think it's fantastic.”