Hero Next Door: Johnny Upson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Johnny Upson is a master barber at the Cut Above Barbershop in Arlington.

It's the place where he started his career back in 1998 and it's the same place where he started a campaign that's saving babies lives in the Arlington community.

Four years ago, shortly after the birth of his daughter, one of Upson's clients shared some shocking information about infant mortality in the state of Florida particularly here in Jacksonville.

That more infants die before their first birthday in Jacksonville than in any other city in the state.

so, upson along with a couple of others started "Barbers for Babies".

It's an event designed to raise awareness about infant mortality and how to prevent it with fathers or future fathers leading the way.
Upson says since "Barbers for Babies" started four years ago, six other barbershops in the area have gotten involved and they're seeing results.

Upson says they've seen a decline in the numbers in his community.

Johnny Upson is our "Hero Next Door".

Infant mortality, the death of a baby in the first year of life, is considered a sentinel indicator of the health of a community.

It is linked to poverty, education, housing, community and family violence, and access to basic health care.

In 2012, 127 babies in Northeast Florida died before their first birthday.

Jacksonville also experiences significant health disparities, with black babies dying at twice the rate of white babies.


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