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DSRIP Members Team Up with Albany Med and Community Partners to Cut Hypertension
Sep 12, 2015
ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 12, 2015 —
A Haircut and a Health Check: Promising Partnership Aims to Curb Hypertension

Along with a haircut, customers at Brick’s barbershop in Albany recently had their blood pressure taken as part of a new community initiative to address health concerns of at-risk individuals in the Albany community.


When two readings showed his blood pressure was higher than normal, Albany resident Eric Kersey said he knew what it was time to do. “I’ve got to make an appointment with my primary and handle this high blood pressure,” he said.


And that’s exactly the point, according to Richard Blinkhorn, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine. “It is our hope that individuals follow up and make health and lifestyle changes that can significantly lower the risk of dying from this ‘silent killer,’”he said.


Hypertension, a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease, affects approximately one in three adults in the United States, with African-American men at a particularly high risk, with death rates from hypertension-related conditions three times higher than in white men. It is believed that genetics, as well as dietary and social issues, may contribute to this disparity.


Albany Med and community partners Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the George Biddle Kelley Foundation (GBK) held the first-ever “barbershop health clinic” at Brick’s as part of the initiative, “Cut Hypertension!” All customers who had their blood pressure read received a $5 off coupon for a haircut.


“By partnering with a health care institution like Albany Medical Center on this important outreach initiative, together we are helping address head-on a major health issue facing African-American members of our community,” said Christopher Ellis, CEO of GBK.


Deryl McCray, co-owner of Brick’s, said he was happy to host the event to get the word out about hypertension, a condition he learned he had three years ago.“This health issue plagues our community,” he said, adding that his barbershop is a hub where people share information and feel comfortable.


“When you link health efforts to your community, then the circle of people who are working with you and encouraging you to get care and stay on the right track is so much better,” Dr. Blinkhorn said.


As part of Albany Medical College’s Service Learning Program, medical students checked blood pressures and provided important information, explained Ingrid Allard, MD, associate dean for Community Outreach and Medical Education. Dr. Allard said experience out in the field is invaluable for medical students.


“Sometimes when they are studying, spending time in the library, taking exams, they forget why they went to medical school. This reminds them,” she said.


Also on hand was a team from Albany Med’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment project, who assisted participants with questions about insurance paperwork and obtaining a primary care provider, if needed. “Our participation in this event is important to the community in terms of ensuring that individuals most impacted by Medicaid redesign are aware of what’s occurring across the region,” said George Clifford, PhD, MPA, executive director of the Center for Health Systems Transformation.

TWC News health reporter Marcie Frasier aired a story on the initiative which can be viewed here. (Note: after pressing play on the video, a window will pop up asking you to enter your Time Warner ID.  Simply press the blue "watch video" button to view without subscribing).


DSRIP Public Forum
Nov 19, 2015

United with the purpose of engaging with the community todiscuss the plans and the progress of the DSRIP programs in their respective Performing Provider Systems, Albany Medical Center and the Alliance for Better Health Care, LLC presented a Public Forum at the Albany Medical College on November 18th, 2015. Open to all, the forum offered an overview of the statewide DSRIP initiative, along with specifics about both PPS' selected projects.  Time was also allotted for audience members to ask questions about the impacts of DSRIP. Click the "Read More" button to review the presentation.  Our "Upcoming Events" page will list any future public forum meetings, to which all are encouraged to attend.

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