Beauty Salons: A Promising Health Promotion Setting for Reaching and Promoting Health Among African American Women
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African American women suffer disproportionately from a wide range of health disparities. This article clarifies how beauty salons can be mobilized at all levels of the social-ecological framework to address disparities in health among African American women. The North Carolina BEAUTY and Health Project is a randomized, controlled intervention trial that takes into account the unique and multilevel features of the beauty salon setting with interventions that address owners, customers, stylists; interactions between customers and stylists; and the salon environment. The authors make explicit the role of the political economy of health theoretical perspective for understanding important factors (social, political, historical, and economic) that should be considered if the goal is to create successful, beauty-salon-based interventions. Despite some important challenges, the authors contend that beauty salons represent a promising setting for maximizing reach, reinforcement, and the impact of public health interventions aimed at addressing health disparities among African American women.