At Common Ground, we recognize that physical and mental well-being are dependent on a culture of health, not just what happens in the doctor’s office. That’s why we partner with barbershops, hair salons and houses of worship to promote health where people live, play and pray. These social gathering spaces are where long-term, trusting relationships are nurtured and where health promotion can be particularly influential, especially in communities of color where health inequities are most pronounced.

This community-based approach grew out of the High Blood Pressure Collaborative, a decade-long health campaign to improve hypertension control in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region. Between 2010 and 2019, the collaborative’s work and similar efforts resulted in a 45% reduction in the rate of adults with dangerously high hypertension of 160/100 millimeters of mercury or higher. 

Health Ministries

Building on the collaborative’s work in faith communities, our Community Health and Well-being initiative continues to support a dozen health ministries. The goal is to embrace health as a spiritual matter. Coordinators from participating churches help congregants with lifestyle change and embed supportive practices in their congregations, like providing a “health minute” during services and creating a nutritious foods policy. A new effort to increase health literacy, teaches congregants how to better understand health information, ask their doctors good questions, manage medication and, as a result, become better advocates for their health.

Healthy Living Through Faith & Lifestyle Coordinators

Coordinators meet regularly to share best practices and plan joint events. View a roster of the membership by clicking the button below.

Wash, Rinse and…Health Check

Community health educators in barbershops and salons provide another neighborhood-based health resource. About 25 hair salon and barber shop owners have been trained to take blood pressures, council clients about HIV prevention, and connect people with health care providers and educational material. Through the Get it Done program, community health educators are paid a stipend and required to spend 10 hours on education and health literacy with clients every week. Four times a year, volunteers give free blood pressure and HIV screenings in participating barbershop and salons. To date, more than 3,000 screenings have been conducted.

Community Health Educators

Each month, community health educators meet for continuing education and collaboration. View a roster of the educators and their shops by clicking the button below.


Access a wealth of data about the social determinants of community health and well-being from our Insights Library.


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