At Inglewood’s Faithful Central Bible Church
A blood pressure kiosk was unveiled this week at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, one of four that are being placed in Southland communities to provide people increased access to monitor their blood pressure. Among those who attended the unveiling were Inglewood Mayor James Butts, Faithful Central Bible Church Senior Pastor Dr. John-Paul C. Foster, Providence California Health Equity Director Denise Colome and American Heart Association Los Angeles Board Member Kathryn Shirley. Richard Horton, a two-time stroke survivor, and Grammy winning songwriter and producer Brian Kennedy, who survived renal kidney failure, joined the affair to share their personal experience of the dire consequences of having undiagnosed or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
The state-of-the-art machines include a screen, a blood pressure cuff, a comfortable resting bench and thorough video instructions on how to receive an accurate blood pressure reading. A user gets the result within a minute and, if a person’s numbers measure high, the machine will offer recommendations and next steps. The kiosk also provides health and wellness resources and information on available medical services.
The blood pressure kiosk installation is part of a joint initiative between the American Heart Association and Providence to reduce uncontrolled high blood pressure in under-resourced neighborhoods.
A blood pressure kiosk is also available at Cal State University Dominguez Hills in Carson.
“Providence firmly believes health is a human right, and to ensure that right we must address challenges in accessing care,” said Denise Colomé, director of health equity for Providence in California. “We’re honored to partner in providing these potentially life-saving blood pressure tests, particularly to those in under-served communities.”
Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and other health issues, including dementia and kidney disease. In Los Angeles County, out of an estimated 2 million people with uncontrolled high blood pressure, more than two-thirds are impacted by structural inequities that limit their access to health care.
“Knowing your numbers is key to understanding and addressing risk,” said Kathryn Shirley, board member, American Heart Association Greater Los Angeles. “By placing blood pressure kiosks in historically under-resourced communities, we hope to reduce health barriers and encourage regular blood pressure checks, better hypertension management and healthy habits.”
The American Heart Association and Providence identified eliminating uncontrolled hypertension as one of their top priorities in the drive for health equity because it disproportionately affects communities of color, particularly Black and Hispanic/Latino people.
Research shows social determinants of health — defined as the conditions in which people are born and live — including the lack of access to quality health care, are contributing factors to hypertension prevalence and poor control rates.
In the U.S., hypertension rates among Black adults are among the highest in the world, affecting more than half of both men and women. Due to a history of systemic racism and structural inequities, Black communities have lower trust in the health care system, which necessitates a different approach to care, such as shifting hypertension management for Black adults into the community.
Hispanic/Latino adults have lower rates of hypertension awareness, treatment and control rates compared to their white counterparts, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Certain systemic barriers, including lack of access to health insurance, were cited as factors that impede access to quality primary care for diagnosing, monitoring and treating hypertension.