208234 Community health empowerment: Addressing health disparities utilizing salon stylists as lay health advocates

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:10 PM

Marilyn A. Fraser-White, MD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Ruth C. Browne, ScD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Soņia Banks, PhD , Psychology Department, VCU, Richmond, VA
Humberto Brown, MA , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Clinton Brown, MD , Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Grace Macalino, PhD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY

Since 1992, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health has done extensive community outreach in various neighborhoods in Brooklyn, NY addressing health disparities by educating and empowering community members to be lay health advocates. Women of African descent are disproportionately affected by heart disease. The Institute, as part of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, developed a culturally tailored curriculum to train stylists to deliver heart health messages to their customers.

Methods: Approximately 104 women (stylists and customers), primarily of African descent (>90%), in Brooklyn were surveyed about their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding cardiovascular disease. The information obtained from the surveys was used to create a cardiovascular disease curriculum for stylists, which was further revised and tailored for the target population from information obtained during stylists' focus groups. The tailored curriculum was presented to hair stylists in a pilot training.

Results:56% of stylists reported a family history of hypertension, and 11% knew the ideal BP reading. 94% of the stylists surveyed were interested in learning more about heart disease to share with their customers. 83% of the customers expressed a willingness to obtain heart health information from their stylists. All of the trained stylists expressed being better informed about cardiovascular disease as a result of the presentation.


There is a need for innovative intervention programs that will raise awareness and increase heart health knowledge within communities with health disparities. The development of culturally tailored interventions is essential to the effectiveness of any program seeking to reduce health disparities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the utilization non-traditional settings to address health disparities; 2. Discuss community participation in the development of a culturally tailored health education training tool; and 3. Describe a model of conducting community based research within the salon environment.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Community Outreach

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have had over 8 years of experience conducting community outreach in non-traditional settings. I also have experience in health disparities research in addition to my training as a medical doctor
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.