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Blood pressure checks at the DMV? While not mandatory, they're likely in Erie County

Is it a good idea to take blood pressure readings in a state Department of Motor Vehicles office?

Erie County motorists will soon find out.

Making blood pressure checks available on at least some days in the seven county DMV offices is one of the changes new Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns is considering.

The notion is one of several Kearns is contemplating as he looks to bring a Healthier District Initiative he started as a state Assemblyman into his new job. The clerk’s office staffs the DMV offices countywide.

“The future of health care is to be pervasive and have access to health information where we’re not used to seeing it,” Kearns said. “The old approach of getting it all from your doctor is changing.”

Don’t expect to see treadmills and ellipticals at the DMV – though they would pass the time – but Kearns will look to work with the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo and other groups to provide health, fitness and nutrition information for customers to peruse while they wait.

Kearns also wants to ramp up information about organ donation in a county where the percentage of adults who’ve offered to participate is among the lowest in the nation.

“These are things we’re going to do to be more proactive, and use the office to help promote good health,” Kearns said.

Wellness effort afoot after deplorable Erie County health rankings

Meanwhile, Kearns looks to continue to champion the initiative he helped start almost three years ago to address some of the lowest county health rankings in New York State. Five school districts in the county already are participating. Others can call the Wellness Institute at 851-4052 or email

“We all live very busy lives but we have to find the time to exercise and address our health or we’re going to face the impacts later in life – and it’s going to be costly,” Kearns said. “That’s why government needs the partnership in this. We’re part of it because in the end, we’re going to end up paying for it...

“If Buffalo is going to be an international city, and we want to recruit new businesses, it’s not only about the physical structure or where those businesses are going to locate,” Kearns said. “It’s about employees. It’s about schools. It’s about hospitals. It’s about efforts like Complete Streets. Companies aren’t going to ask for these things. They’re going to expect them for their employees. If we do not have a comprehensive strategy and plan ... were still going to be low out of 62 counties.”

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