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UNC Project Integrates Health Awareness Into Beauty Salons

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Barbershops and beauty salons provide a perfect environment for conversations.

The University of North Carolina School of Public Health

and the

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

endorsed a new group called the "Beauty Project."

Developers said they hope the project will help make health a topic of those conversations.

The hope is that the "Beauty Project" will tap into pre-existing relationships within a salon or barbershop.

Salon owner Betty Franks said the trust is already there.

"It's a personal relationship [between] client and stylist," Franks said.She adds that it is often a client-oriented environment.

"We very seldom get a chance to tell clients about [our] problems because they have so many things that they want to tell you about themselves," Franks said.

The project's health experts plan to teach African-American stylists how to talk to their clients about health issues.

"The main thing we're looking at is increasing physical activity. We're looking at people's nutrition, as well as cancer screening practices," said Veronica Carlisle, the manager of the Beauty Project.

Morris Boswell participated in the pilot phase of the Beauty Project. He said his stylist did not tell him anything new, but somehow, hearing the information made a difference.

"To hear it reinforced by someone that you trust, someone that you have a personal relationship to, it just takes it to a next level," Boswell said.

Boswell said the project aims to raise awareness levels and educate a few people at a time.

"You cannot save the whole world, but if you just reach one person and you're able to save one life or make that life healthier, then the program is worthwhile," he said.

The Beauty Project is happening across North Carolina and is funded by the

American Cancer Society


For more information, call (888) 265-6188.


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