Utilizing Hair Stylists as Lay Health Educators for Cardiovascular Disease

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Mrs. Shirley Randleman

52nd Street Business Association

Dr. Rickie Brawer, Thomas Jefferson University

Nancy Chernett, Thomas Jefferson University


African Americans have a substantially higher rate of cardiovascular disease and events when compared to individuals of other races. In Philadelphia, African American women in particular have higher than average incidences of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes; all factors that increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular events. Although it is known that lifestyle choices greatly influences the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a general lack of knowledge about key risk reducing factors may play a crucial role in the increased rate of heart disease among African American women. The purpose of this study was to develop a pilot intervention designed to train West Philadelphia hair stylists about CVD allowing them to act as lay health educators to their clients. Two 2-hour heart disease educational seminars were conducted with a total of 21 participants. Each participant completed a pretest and posttest survey. Participants were contacted for follow up 11 months post intervention. Data were collected, cleaned, coded and entered into an excel database. Quantitative analysis showed a significant increase in overall heart disease knowledge. Mean scores of knowledge questions increased from 15.95 to 18.29, t(20)=3.02, p,<.05 from pretest to posttest. Analysis also revealed a positive change in stylists beliefs and attitudes regarding CVD. Stylists reported that the major barriers to communicating with their clients about CVD were lack of knowledge and self-confidence. This study supports findings of current literature that hair stylists can be a vital resource to educate African American women on heart disease and various health initiatives. Integration of activities to increase stylists self-confidence and expansion of the educational workshop beyond CVD may serve to strengthen replication of this intervention.

Presentation: 22 minutes