TOLEDO, Ohio — February is heart month; the aim is to raise awareness of heart disease, the number one killer in America.
At Foster's Barbershop on Bancroft, customers can talk about pretty much everything.
"This is like the days of our lives here, honestly," customer Barry Willis said.
About three years ago, conversations got even more personal. With the help of ProMedica, Foster's became one of six local barbershops to start integrating men's health into the discussion.
"In the United States, in Ohio, in Lucas County, black men are at greatest risk to die earlier from disease process," Robin Charney with the Oncology Community Liaison for ProMedica Cancer Institute.
"We, as African Americans, we don't think we need to go to the doctor. As black, macho men we don't think we have to go to the doctor," Willis said.
So, barber shops became an open book; ready to listen and also supply potentially life-saving information.
"It's alarming and knowing that we can help and that we've got a say so on someone's not feeling well and we can give them some ideas, some pointers on where to go, where to be seen. Give them some of the statistics, some of the numbers," barber Andre Johnson said.
The barbers even went so far to become CPR certified.
"They're all very into it. We trained them. They're very competitive and had to make sure they did it better than everyone else," ProMedica's CPR training center coordinator, Kristina Miller said.
To go along with that training, ProMedica installed an AED in the barbershop and five others in town so these barbers can jump right in, in case of an emergency.
Hopefully, the machine will never be needed, as conversations in the barbershop can prevent a heart attack.
"Seeing at Foster's Barbershop, that they're so concerned about the African American community you're getting the word out here," Willis said.
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