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College of Science & Engineering


IBR Team

BSS ParticipantsThe beauty salon has never been solely a place to primp, but rather it has served as a place of solitude for women. A spot in a hairdresser’s chair doubles as hair treatment and therapy, producing curls and community. Now, through TCU’s Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR), the hair salon will also serve as a mode of health education in the fight against preventable HIV. 

The IBR partnered with Duncanville's Creative Beauty Salon to begin recruitment and education efforts. At the event, experts in HIV awareness and business for beauty professionals hosted two panels, geared at educating stylists about women’s sexual health and empowering them to uplift their clients professionally and personally. 

BSSThe IBR received funding for a one-year pilot study, the “Beauty Shop Study” (BSS), from the College of Science and Engineering’s Dean’s Opportunity Fund. Led by Randi Proffitt, Ph.D., and Kevin Knight, Ph.D., professor and director of the IBR, the study focuses on distribution and education surrounding pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP), a medication which is up to 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission, the virus that causes AIDS.  

Although Black women constitute only 14% of the female population, they represent over half of all new HIV diagnoses among women. Their infection rate is 11 times higher than that of white women. Tarrant County is nationally recognized as an epicenter for new HIV infections. 

IBR at BSSMost women are unaware of what PrEP is or its availability, and outreach efforts to engage Black women in PrEP services are very new. The “Beauty Shop Study” is recruiting beauty professionals to train on HIV education and prevention, and they will refer their clients to the TCU Mobile Health Unit located at salons across Fort Worth and Dallas. TCU Nursing Assistant Professor of Professional Practice Tammie S. Williams, DNP, will provide women’s health screenings and exams, including education about HIV and PrEP. 

The receptivity and community response to the issue of women’s sexual health empowerment, HIV and STI awareness, and beauty professional’s role as trusted community members to deliver this message has been incredible,” says Proffitt. “We have so many beauty professionals and allies in both Dallas and Tarrant Counties ready to support this project in its pilot phase and into the future as we seek larger funding and grow its reach.”

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