Dr. Ronald Victor, Pioneer of Barbershop Blood Pressure Studies: 1952-2018

Posted by Los Angeles Business Journal

Dr. Ronald G. Victor, a physician-scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center who saved the lives of black men with hypertension by recruiting barbers to check their blood pressure, has died. He was 66.

Victor, an associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute, died Sept. 10 from an unknown cause, the hospital announced.

“His out-of-the-box thinking has created a new paradigm for serving neglected populations: Bringing medicine to at-risk people rather than waiting for sickness to rear its ugly head,” said Dr. Eduardo Marban, director of the institute, in a statement.

Uncontrolled hypertension is a main cause of premature disability and death among African-American men.

Victor is credited for pioneering research that recruited barbers into taking their patron’s blood pressure, who then urged men with high readings to consult with an awaiting pharmacist.

Nearly two thirds of the 400 African-American men who participated in a Los Angeles-area study reduced their blood pressure to normal levels, according to a study published earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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