RIVERSIDE, CA— Are your hair care products making you sick? Healthy Heritage Movement Inc. (HHM), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate health disparities within the African American community recently launched a community-based participatory research study in 2013. This study will examine this very question.
Is the Cost of Beauty (COB) Putting Black Women at Risk? The Inland Empire African American Wellness Collaborative (IEAAWC) Hair and Health Study is an important project that is investigating whether or not Black women are being put at risk as a result of the deadly chemicals that can be found in hair care products such as relaxers, dyes etc. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and despite the emergence of the natural hair trend, black consumers still continue to spend an exorbitant amount of money on products such as; straighteners, hair weaves, wigs and extensions.
Emerging evidence for the COB research project suggests toxins found in some hair care products African American/Black women use may contribute to breast cancer. In addition, the research project also examines women in the Inland Empire, and their rationale for using hair relaxers and products that contain hormone altering ingredients.
“We would like to see legislation passed that regulates the hair care product industry with warnings about the potential dangers as a result of this research study,” said HHM Founder and CEO Phyllis Clark.
Joint participation of the COB program includes Loma Linda University and Quinn Community Outreach Corporation. The COB research project is sponsored by The California Breast Cancer Research Program. Since its inception in 2013, the health study has interviewed over 200 women and men throughout the Inland Empire, and 150 survey participants.
The COB research project has also submitted nine abstract publications and completed seven conference presentations; one article has been submitted for publication to the Behavioral Medicine journal and approval is pending.
HHM recently participated in the Nappywood 3rd Annual Los Angeles Natural Hair and Lifestyle Expo which took place in early August. HHM Founder and CEO Clarkserved on one of many panels that took place during the conference, along with other industry experts. Discussion of a broad range of health issues relating to overall health and wellness took place, including a need to retrain and reeducate stylists on natural hair processes, particularly in the African American community. These panels included health advocates, hair care innovators, cosmetologists and some of the top hair stylists in the industry. When posed with the question of what challenges these industry experts are faced with, one panelist expressed that cosmetology schools don’t equip you on how to care for hair in its natural state without the use of straightening chemicals.
Miko Branch, owner of Miss Jessie’s stated, “Embracing natural hair is creating a paradigm shift of a generation who is learning to care for their own hair, in turn eliminating the need for going to licensed professional stylists.”
However, audience and panel members both agreed with Ms. Clark who emphatically pointed out,“We don’t want to see salons eliminated altogether, but our expectations of them have changed.”
For more information about the COB hair health research program, contact Dede Kossiwa Teteh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Healthy Heritage
The Healthy Heritage Movement ™ (HHM) – Our Health ● Our Heritage ● Our Movement, HHM’s mission is to eliminate health disparities in the African American community by providing culturally relevant wellness programs and resources, peer navigation, and advocacy training.
HHM provides health education programs to decrease the disproportionate number of African Americans affected by chronic diseases: Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Obesity.
Their healthy lifestyle Community Health Leaders (CHL) host conferences, classes, workshops and personal counseling.
About The Founder
Phyllis Clark is the Founder and CEO of The Healthy Heritage Movement Inc. (HHM). She is a very active health advocate, committed to the fight against cancer which is the #1 killer of African-Americans and the disease that took her mother at a young age.
As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society (ACS) since 2003, she is the Lead Legislative Ambassador for Congressional District 41, and the chair for the California African American/Black Team. She is also a member of the region’s Cancer Leadership Council. She has received numerous awards including the American Cancer Society prestigious Harold P. Freeman Award, and Volunteer of the Year award in 2007, to name a few.
She is a member of the Riverside Community Diabetes Collaborative (RCDC), the Network for a Healthy California, the Southern California Donate Life Network, and the California Partnership for Access to Treatment (CPAT). She is also a past Board Member of the Komen for the Cure Inland Empire Affiliate.
Ms. Clark recently earned her Masters of Business Administration in Marketing. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Redlands School of Business. In addition, she has a Vocational Instructor Credential in Retail Marketing from University of California Riverside, and an Associate of Arts degree in Fashion Merchandising.
She loves spending time with her sons, grandson, extended family and friends, as well as church, swimming, enjoying music, museums and live theater.
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