Fostering Healthy Communities @ Hair Care Centers

Article excerpt

Abstract: The author discusses the planning and development of a unique method of reaching African American clients by Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. members in the state of South Carolina through use of beauty shops and barber shops, which is termed Hair Care Centers. Using bulletin boards which are placed in these establishments, the members of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. change the educational materials monthly based on the minority health awareness themes created by the Office of Minority Health in Washington, DC. The goal of Project F-HC is to take selfcare, health promoting, disease prevention information to places where persons frequent, making it easily accessible. Key Words: Healthy Communities; African American Health; Hair Care Centers

he Healthy Communities Initiative evolved from the Healthy Cities Movement that began in 1984 in Canada and in 1986 the World Health Organization T (WHO) Regional Office for Europe initiated the WHO Healthy Cities Project. Today, the Healthy Cities Project is an international movement involving over a thousand cities. Initially, 11 cities were selected to participate in the project; however, the current phase includes 35 cities, 23 national networks and over 650 European cities (Flynn & Dennis, 1996). This international movement mobilizes local government, professionals, citizens and private and volunteer organizations to put health promotion on the city's political agenda with guiding principles of health for all (Primary Health Care, 1978; Ottawa Charter for Health Promotions, 1986). The principles include: equity, health promotion, community participation, multisectoral cooperation, appropriate technology, primary health care and international cooperation. Several communities in South Carolina are participating in the South Carolina Healthy Communities Initiative (Healthy Communities Initiative, 1996).

In an effort to promote the concept of Healthy Communities, the South Carolina Nurses Foundation placed a call for proposals from nurses working with groups and agencies indicating how they could promote the concept of Healthy Communities in South Carolina. A collaborative proposal among the South Carolina Chapters of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. was submitted, Fostering Healthy Communities Hair Care Centers or Project F-HC. Description of Proposed Project

Project F-HC (Fostering Healthy Communities Ca) Hair Care Centers) proposes to take health care education information to sites within communities most frequented by the citizenry across socioeconomic status. Beauty and barber shops (hereafter referred to as Hair Care Centers) are one of the community sites where persons tend to visit at least on a monthly basis. Many persons spend anywhere from one-half hour per visit to as much as four hours. Hair Care Centers (HCC) are probably visited more than any other community place excluding religious institutions and grocery stores. It is estimated that most HCCs have at least twenty persons come through their doors on a daily basis. The goal of Project F-HC is to take self-care, health promoting, disease prevention information to places where persons frequent making it easily accessible.

Project F-HC is being implemented through the collaborative efforts of the South Carolina Chapters of Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority, Inc. The chapter members identified HCCs in their community that were willing to participate in the project. Bulletin boards are mounted in the HCCs that will be designated for use only by the project. Health information will be displayed on a monthly basis for the next twelve months. Health emphasis topics were selected using the monthly national health awareness themes as a guide and the aggregate needs (i.e., January is Glaucoma Awareness month, November is Diabetes month, etc.). All sites will follow the same information rotation; however, if an HCC expresses a specific request, every effort will be made to address the request.

When considering HCCs as health information sites, space is always a concern. …