WP 69 Tackling Cervical Cancer Disparities Via Community-Based Health Education: African American Beauty Salons

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
International Ballroom
Amy Leader, PhD, MPH1, Pamela Weddington, B.S.2, Ivan Juzang, MBA2, Ralph DiClemente, Ph.D., M.Sc.3 and Gina Wingood, ScD, MPH3, 1Division of Population Science, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, 2MEE Productions Inc., Philadelphia, PA, 3Department of Health Sciences and Behavioral Education, Emory University-Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA

Background:  Salon-based health education programs are becoming increasingly popular for reaching African-American women because they deliver messages in a setting that is credible and easily accessible; they also engage trusted members of the community in a dialogue that reflects the tradition of oral-based communication.

Methods:  We partnered with ten Philadelphia hair salons to promote dialogue about HPV and its link to cervical cancer. Goals were to increase knowledge about HPV, as well as intentions to vaccinate, among salon customers. Study inclusion criteria: African-American women, ages 18 to 26, or the caregivers of girls ages 9 to 17. Stylists briefly discussed HPV with customers, then made referrals for in-depth, in-salon sessions offered by health educators. Survey data (knowledge and attitudes about HPV and HPV vaccination) were collected from customers immediately before and after the sessions, and 30 days later. Means, frequencies and percentages were used to determine background characteristics of the sample, while paired t-tests were used to compare baseline and endpoint mean scores for knowledge, perception and intention items.

Results:  240 women were enrolled in the study. Knowledge about cervical cancer and HPV infection increased significantly in both groups from baseline to endpoint and remained high at the one-month follow-up assessment. At follow-up, 68% of participants said that they had shared what they learned with a friend or family member, and 57% planned to talk to their doctor or their daughter’s doctor about HPV vaccination. After the sessions, 62% of caregivers reported that it was important that their daughter be vaccinated against HPV in the future.

Conclusions: Results of the study indicate that community-based health education interventions in beauty salons are both feasible and effective in reaching populations not traditionally included in mainstream messaging strategies.