BCHS student Monica Henderson won second place among master’s students for the project, “Black Hair Politics: A Public Health Concern”.
Dean’s Day is an annual student research competition. Students present their research during multiple poster sessions while faculty members judge presentations for prizes and students evaluate posters for Grand Rounds credit.
Visit publichealth.pitt.edu/deansday to learn more about the competition and see a full list of winners.
Black women and girls in the United States are disproportionately affected by adverse health outcomes. While racism has been widely discussed as a determinant of health, it is imperative to consider the intersectional experiences of Black women and girls. While the denigration of afro-textured hair has received some legal attention, it has been overlooked as a public health and equity concern. Using a literature review, this paper presents the impact of Black hair politics on the well-being of Black women and girls through three specific factors: physiological, psychosocial, and socioeconomic. These influences exist at different levels of the socioecological model, highlighting its public health significance and need for multilevel interventions. Legislation like the CROWN Act sets a legal precedent to change the conditions in which Black women and girls live, learn, and grow. In addition, an intervention for educational and medical institutions is suggested. It includes the integration of Black hair education, empowerment, inclusion, and accountability into curricula and practice to mitigate health inequities.