Boston Public Health Commission- Barbers for Health: High Blood Pressure PSA

The Boston Public Health Commission has hundreds of programs working to make a healthier Boston for all of its residents. The Commission specifically seeks to help vulnerable populations that might be overlooked otherwise, one of these programs is the Healthy Hearts Barbershop Initiative.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a big issue with all races, but it’s an epidemic in the African American population. This program was looking for a way to connect with this population and did so by seeking out barber shops. There are national organizations they partnered with, the Barbers for Health and Million Hearts in Municipalities programs. Their story was featured on some news stations which was the inspiration for BPHC to create a video, but we knew we could do much better.

When they came to me with this story I thought it was pretty amazing. I love when people think outside the box and solve problems through common sense. Rather than just telling people to go talk to their doctors, they bring the education to the people where they are already. Then from there they can further spread the message by giving them information and telling them to talk to their doctor. Plus, with something that needs to be monitored like blood pressure, it makes sense to monitor it somewhere you go monthly rather than somewhere you go once a year or so.

We went to the barber shop and met with Lynus and Jamie and conducted a pre-interview to get their thoughts on the program, the issue of high blood pressure and the importance of barber shops in their culture. They were full of personality and opinions so the toughest part of the process was cutting down what they said to a short script! We used their responses to those questions to create a script in their own words and recorded their voice overs.

I’m really proud of how this video turned out. We focused grouped the first cut with people in the target demographic and they all found it very effecting. One of the best parts of this industry is being able to give a voice to organizations like this that people might not otherwise know about.