Ronald G. Victor, MD, a prominent hypertension expert and the first investigator to scientifically prove that thousands of lives could be saved annually if barbers were enlisted to help fight the epidemic of high BP in the black community, died Sept. 10. He was 66 years old.
An associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai since 2009, Victor published his most recent barbershop study results in March in The New England Journal of Medicine and presented the data at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session. The results showed nearly 64% of study participants reduced their BP to healthy levels after barbers took patrons’ BP and then urged those with high readings to follow up with pharmacists stationed in the barbershops.
“Where others saw intractable challenges, Ron saw novel solutions,” Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Smidt Heart Institute and a friend of Victor’s for 26 years, said in a statement. “His out-of-the-box thinking has created a new paradigm for serving neglected populations: Bring medicine to at-risk people rather than waiting for sickness to rear its ugly head, when it’s often too late.”
Victor’s barbershop work resulted in hundreds of media interviews and led to several awards, including the Humanitarian Award from the Professional Barber & Stylists Committee and the James E. Smith Trailblazer Award from the Texas Association of Tonsorial Artists. Victor also was recognized for his work by the medical community. He served as president of the Association of University Cardiologists, and he was the primary investigator on more than 140 studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals.