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HelixTalk Episode #79 - Cutting Hair and Blood Pressure: Pharmacists in the Barbershop

Date posted: June 5, 2018, 6:00 am

In this episode, we interview Kathleen Lynch, PharmD and Ciantel (Adair) Blyler, PharmD, coauthors of the New England Journal of Medicine article, published in March 2018, investigating the role of pharmacist-led interventions for blood pressure reduction in black barbershops.


Key Concepts

  1. In this cluster-randomized study of 319 black men in 52 barbershops in L.A. county, the use of pharmacists within the barbershop setting with collaborative practice agreements decreased systolic blood pressure by about 22 mmHg more than the control group over a 6 month time period.
  2. Students interested in research should get involved as early as possible while in school.  Any involvement with clinicians or faculty members with research projects will help gain a better understanding of the research process in the future.
  3. Building high-quality relationships with your patients is critical to achieving therapeutic goals.  Not all patients are ready to initiate drug therapy immediately, but by developing a strong relationship, a patient is more likely to consider effective therapies in the future.
  4. This particular study demonstrates the value and accessibility of pharmacists in treating chronic conditions; however, it remains to be seen whether payers will be willing to reimburse for pharmacist services in such a non-traditional setting.  Future studies replicating these results are ongoing and will help to clarify the value of the pharmacist in these settings.


Victor RG, Lynch K, Li N, et al. A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Blood-Pressure Reduction in Black Barbershops. N Engl J Med. 2018 Apr 5;378(14):1291-1301.