The Arkansas Minority Barber and Beauty Shop Health Initiative: Meeting People Where They Are

Prev Chronic Dis. 2020 Dec 3;17:E153. doi: 10.5888/pcd17.200277.


Introduction: The Office of Health Equity at the Arkansas Department of Health created the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative (ARBBS) to address cardiovascular disease (CVD) among racial/ethnic minority populations. The objective of this study was to describe CVD-related screening results for ARBBS participants and their knowledge of CVD-related risk factors, signs, and symptoms before and immediately after participation in a screening event.

Methods: ARBBS screening events were held from February 2016 through June 2019 at barber and beauty shops in 14 counties in Arkansas. During each event, participants were screened for hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes; surveys on CVD-related knowledge were administered before (pretest) and after (posttest) screening. Onsite public health practitioners reviewed surveys and identified abnormal screening results. Participants with abnormal screening results were counseled and given a referral to follow up with a primary care physician, wellness center, or charitable clinic. The nurse coordinator followed up to confirm that a visit or appointment had been made and provide case-management services.

Results: During the study period, 1,833 people were screened. The nurse coordinator followed up with 320 (55.7%) of 574 unique referrals. Of the 574 referrals, 418 (72.8%) were for hypertension, 156 (27.2%) for high cholesterol, and 120 (20.9%) for diabetes. The overall knowledge of risk factors and symptoms of heart attack and stroke increased significantly by 15.4 percentage points from pretest to posttest (from 76.9% to 92.3%; P < .001). The follow-up approach provided anecdotal information indicating that several participants discovered they had underlying medical conditions and were given medical or surgical interventions.

Conclusion: Through referrals and follow-ups, ARBBS participants gained greater knowledge of chronic disease prevention and risk factors. Additionally, this program screened for and identified people at risk for CVD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arkansas
  • Beauty*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups