Objective: To test the efficacy of using hair stylists as lay health advisors to increase organ donation among African American clients.
Design: This study was a randomized, controlled intervention trial where we randomized 52 salons (2,789 clients) to receive a 4 session, stylist-delivered health education program (comparison) or a four session brief motivational intervention that encouraged organ donation (intervention). Intervention stylists received a four-hour training in organ donation education and counseling. Organ donation was measured by self-report questionnaire at 4-month posttest as well as by verified enrollment in the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Setting: Hair salons in Michigan urban areas.
Participants: Blacks (n = 2,449), non-Blacks (n = 261) in Michigan.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported donation status, registration in Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Results: At posttest, rates of self-reported positive donation status were 19.8% in the intervention group and 16.0% in the comparison group. In multivariate analyses, intervention participants were 1.7 times (95% Cl = 0.98-2.8) more likely than comparison participants to report positive donation status at posttest. Based on verified organ registry data, enrollment rates were 4.8% and 2%, respectively for the intervention and comparison groups. In multivariate analyses, intervention group members were 4.4 (95% CI = 1.3-15.3) more likely to submit an enrollment card than comparison participants.
Conclusion: Clients of hair stylists trained to provide brief motivational intervention for organ donation were approximately twice as likely to enroll in the donor registry as comparison clients. Use of lay health advisors appears to be a promising approach to increase donation among African Americans.