Peer Coaching Effective In Helping Marginalized Individuals Lower Blood Pressure

For younger Black patients living in rural parts of the Southeastern United States, peer coaching is more effective than traditional clinical care in controlling high blood pressure, according to a new study led by Dr. Monika Safford, the John J. Kuiper Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine. The findings, which were published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that for people under age 60 who have persistently uncontrolled hypertension, the benefits of working with a peer health coach were equivalent to what would be expected from taking a low dose of blood pressure medication.


Dr. Monika Safford

The randomized clinical trial was conducted by a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and included 1,592 Black patients with persistently uncontrolled high blood pressure who were being seen at 69 rural primary care practices.

“The improvements that we saw were important, especially because there was no new medication needed,” said Dr. Safford. “On a population level, this type of improvement translates into fewer strokes and heart attacks.”

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