Thursday, November 3, 2005—Carol Versey’s clients trust her, so when she asked them to take time from their busy days to fulfill an unusual request, nearly all of them agreed.

Versey, owner of Salon Lorache, was among a number of Seattle-area beauty salon proprietors who participated in the Hutchinson Center’s African-American Women’s Health Information Study, but her salon produced a very positive response.

“Ms. Versey’s enthusiasm as the owner of the salon was instrumental in generating so many responses to our survey and helping us reach so many of the women who patronize her salon,” said Tracy Hilliard, a graduate student at the University of Washington and a member of the study team.

The study, designed by UW graduate student Pamela Mitchell, the lead student on the project, seeks to determine whether African-American women would like to receive health information at their beauty salons.

That may sound like an odd question, but it’s not. Statistics show African-American women report disparities for numerous health problems, including breast cancer. For example, black women tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer at more advanced stages and they have a higher mortality rate from the disease. Such disparities indicate that important prevention information may not be reaching them. If that’s the case, it only makes sense to explore alternative ways of delivering the information, Hilliard said.

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