When will it officially begin?
The initiative kicks off with a Town Hall hosted by the Black Coalition Against COVID, Wednesday, June 2, from 7-8:45PM. Thousands of barbers and stylists from across the country have been invited to hear updates on the COVID-19 pandemic from Dr. Nunez-Smith and Dr. Webb before turning to a panel of barbers and stylists discussing their own work to combat COVID-19.
More detailed information about how to participate in the broader Shots at the Shop initiative will be provided at the Town Hall.
How will initial sites be selected?
We’re inviting barbershops and beauty salons from across the country to participate in the initiative. That includes shops in urban areas and in rural areas, across geographic regions of the country, and with various levels of experience doing community or public health outreach.
In order to be eligible, each shop must (1) be owner-operated, (2) have sufficient clientele to allow for health promotion, and (3) have a sufficient number of barbers/stylists for substantive outreach. To get the process started, eligible shops who are interested in participating can visit SheaMoistureFund.com to register. SheaMoisture and the Black Coalition Against COVID will work together to verify shop eligibility, and prioritize based on areas of greatest need. SheaMoisture is selecting up to 1,000 shops to receive $1,000 stipends for participating in the initiative, which will be a significant incentive for participation.
What are the priority locations?
Based on current vaccination rates and demographic trends, priority cities include:
Large cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio
Medium-sized cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Greensboro / Winston-Salem, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Memphis, Phoenix, Norfolk / VA Beach, Riverside / San Bernadino, St. Louis
Small cities: Birmingham, Columbia SC, El Paso, Fresno, Little Rock, Orlando, Spokane, Tampa
Shops in rural communities are also strongly encouraged to register to participate, and will be given full consideration for inclusion in the initiative. Every locality will be individually assessed as to the potential for impact of the initiative through their shop, particularly in light of vaccinate rates and gaps in the surrounding community.
How will we train the barbers and stylists?
Participating shops will receive an online training held by the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. The four-hour course is entitled “COVID-19 Rapid Response Training for Barbers & Stylists: From Vaccine Hesitancy to Vaccine Confidence” and is led by Dr. Stephen B. Thomas. It is drawn from material Dr. Thomas has used for 15 years in transforming barbershops and beauty salons into culturally relevant portals for health education and the delivery of public health and medical services.
Are we providing any funding or hard resources?
Part of the beauty of this collaboration is that it really merges several entities who were already interested in engaging with barbershops and beauty salons to advance COVID-19 vaccine education and vaccination efforts, primarily for the Black community. One of our collaborators in this initiative, SheaMoisture, is providing $1 million in direct funding to barbershops and beauty salons in conjunction with this effort. This is the second time they’ve provided such funding, as they launched a $1 million relief fund last April to help support women entrepreneurs and small business owners of color.
In terms of the collaboration, every partner in this effort has a different role. The Black Coalition Against COVID is coordinating the initiative and the partners, the Maryland Center for Health Equity is training the barbers and stylists, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is providing the education materials and resources for use in-shops, and SheaMoisture is financially supporting the shops with a $1,000 stipend to each participating shop.
What measurable outcomes do we hope to see from the initiative?
There are certainly some measurable outcomes that we’ll track, such as:
- the number of participating shops
- the number of barbers and stylists who receive training
- the number of individuals who receive education in shops, and
- the number of vaccination events held
More than that, though, we hope that the initiative establishes a mechanism to provide facts to push back on misinformation in many of the hardest-hit communities that still have lower vaccination rates. It’s about more than the individuals who receive vaccination education while sitting in the chair or who attend a barbershop or beauty salon vaccination event. It’s about the conversations they go on to have with family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers. It’s about turning shop talk into productive community conversations about vaccination.