Healthy Heart program activities started with a phenomenal kickoff activity conducting health screenings at the annual Bayou Classic football game. Major components of the project were: blood pressure education and screening in neighborhood barber and beauty salons, and extensive training for salon owners, health Sunday sermons led by Church pastors, CEU administered professional seminars on hypertension and lipids targeting healthcare professionals, and a physician referral directory listing all participating physicians, clinics, hospitals distributed to participants receiving screening tests at health fairs. Over 1350 community participants and sports fans were screened for hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes in addition to receiving valuable health advice and education from experienced health professionals and trained lay persons throughout that year.body to live your best life possible.
Cut Your Pressure
A barbershop/beauty shop intervention, where volunteers actually teach beauticians and barbers, a 10-hour intervention training, how to check blood pressures based on the American Red Cross and American Heart Association guidelines. The trainees were taught basic blood pressure screening techniques according to the latest Fifth Joint National Committee Report (JNC V), given a written test and needed to score 80%. Additionally, the screeners had to accurately determine blood pressures on each other within 4 mm Hg of the instructor's blood pressure measurement to qualify as "specialists." Those who meet requirements are allowed to take sphygmomanometers back to their salons and barbershops to measure the blood pressures of their customers. They also were familiarized with various NIH publications: the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel Report (ATP-II) summary, the "Eat Right to Help Lower Your High Blood Pressure" pamphlet, and the "Eat Right to Lower Your High Blood Cholesterol" pamphlet. The health education literature was distributed in salons, barbershops, and churches. However, the project wanted the screeners to recognize and know what they were distributing. Dr. Ferdinand's ability to communicate effectively with hard-to-reach clientele enabled this aspect of the program to be facilitated.
Give God a Hand
Health education delivered by ministers giving a "healthy heart sermon" in various churches throughout New Orleans. These planned sermons on high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and exercise relate health and the church, and are delivered on one Sunday each quarter. The HHCPP used a nondenominational, broad-based ecumenical approach. The project included various types of churches because African Americans are a heterogeneous people. One must reach into all segments of the community, if one really desires to impact the African-American population, and the church provides a unique opportunity to teach African Americans in underserved areas.
The third component is professional education, which included clinical presentations and speaker training. HHCPP held two clinical presentations. One was based on the Fifth Joint National Committee Report; the other was based on the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel Report. The lectures focused on primary prevention and getting doctors and nurses introduced to the latest scientific information on detection and treatment of hypertension and high blood cholesterol. In this regard, the project was determined to add professional education along with community intervention.