CLEVELAND, Ohio – They say the path to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and that’s exactly what doctors Jennifer and Jessica Macklin hope for when their “Burgers and Blood Pressure” events pop up in town.

Michael brookbank

“People will always show up to a party,” said Dr. Jennifer Macklin.

The twin sisters offer heart-healthy burgers – vegetarian, turkey, or chicken – in exchange for a person’s blood sugar and blood pressure readings.

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Michael brookbank

“We are realizing that younger and younger people are affected by this, it is no longer the illnesses of our grandparents,” said Dr Jessica Macklin.

Their mission to help the community grew out of heartache.

“Every 36 seconds someone dies from a cardiovascular event,” Jessica said.

Jessica and Jennifer have lost two grandparents to heart and chronic illnesses.

“This is exactly what we need to do. This is where our passion is, and I feel like we had to go through this painful time to make a difference for everyone,” said Jessica.

Since the launch of their non-profit organization “Hands on Health” at the height of the pandemic, the sisters, accompanied by 38 volunteers made up of doctors, pharmacists and nurses, have screened more than 800 people, including Dominique Emory. .

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Michael brookbank

“I didn’t even realize my blood pressure was a bit high until this event,” Emory said.

Among the 100 patients who had above-average readings, a dozen people were encouraged to see their doctor.

“Of those 12 people, 6 people had breast cancer screening and colonoscopy, so it kind of went beyond the initial screenings,” Jessica said.

A patient’s levels were so high that he was on the verge of having a stroke.

“He said the burger literally saved his life, so it’s super rewarding,” Jennifer said.

Among those who took advantage was Rosemary Brown.

Brown said she is grateful that she and her neighbors have the chance to find out what is going on with their bodies.

She had a message for Jessica and Jennifer.

“Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep being that advocate, that voice that helps so many people in the community,” Brown said.

The sisters are now aiming to tackle childhood obesity with their health science lab, which shows students easy and fun alternatives to sugary snacks.

“It’s like a family affair, so the students learn to take care of themselves, the parents learn,” Jennifer said.

The new awareness began at schools in Cleveland Heights, the same district where Jessica and Jennifer were introduced to medicine through the high school’s pharmacy technician program.

“Our goal was to always come back and show students the same that anything is possible,” Jessica said.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates the deep-rooted systemic issues of Northeast Ohio. Additionally, it highlights community heroes who are fighting for positive change in Cleveland and across the region. If you have an idea for the story of A Better Land, let us know here.