Tampa’s Beauty & Health Institute—A Unique School & So Much More!
“Even in a tough economy, people like to look their best. It can improve their outlook and their health,” says Don Kruse, president and CEO of the Beauty and Health Institute (BHI) in Tampa’s Citrus Park area.
Kruse and his wife, Rita, opened BHI in the spring of 2006, after Rita got the idea a year earlier. BHI offers training toward careers in beauty, health, electrolysis and related skills. But it’s also open to the public as the first such facility in Tampa where people can take advantage of many medical spa-type treatments for a fraction of the cost at other clinics.
Clients can come to BHI and rest assured that the students who perform many of the desired techniques are fully trained and supervised. Rita explains that, before a BHI student is allowed to actually perform any procedures, he or she must log a total of 500 hours in theory and practical training, with hands-on experience accounting for 220 hours. Those hours include rotation service there at the school or at a medical spa facility, similar to a medical student’s internship.
BHI is the resulting vision Rita had while in training as an electrolysis and laser technician herself. She realized that the only schools for hair removal training in Central Florida were located in Bradenton or Sarasota. She approached her school to see if they wanted to expand by opening a branch in Tampa, but they weren’t interested.
So, she went to Don with the idea of starting a school here.
“I thought it was a great idea,” says Don. “We started off with one building for her business as a technician. Then, after renting several rooms here, we restructured about 20 rooms and opened the school.”
BHI had to go through rigorous licensing procedures and was the first post-secondary school in Florida to receive full national accreditation in laser hair removal and electrolysis. Rita serves as BHI’s director. But she’s come a long way from home to be a practicing technician and entrepreneur in Tampa.
Born and raised in Siberia, Rita's family found a way out of the commun-istruled Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the 1970s by way of Poland. She moved to Israel, where she served two years in the Israeli military. She also received her initial schooling as a nail technician and massage therapist in Israel. Then, she became interested in broadening her horizons in related areas and came to America.
“Don and I actually met when he sold my daughter a used car,” Rita recalls. “I visited the location where he worked to try and get the interest rate lowered. After two years of encounters, the rest is history.”
BHI’s Many Career Opportunities
The Beauty and Health Institute offers careers for people not only interested in making others feel and appear more beautiful, but in improving their quality of life after illnesses and surgeries. Students can receive certifications by completing courses at BHI, including: Certified Facial Specialist, Electrologist and hair removal professional after completing the Medical Aesthetician program; and Certified Cosmetics Technician/Permanent Makeup Artist after completing the Permanent Makeup Program.
After training, BHI students can take State Board exams in procedures where state certification is needed to practice their new trade.
BHI offers initial training in fields such as medical aesthetics, massage therapy, permanent make-up, skin care, electrolysis and laser hair removal.
The school also provides continuing education that satisfies state requirements towards renewing licenses in related fields. For example, a Certified Medical Electrologist can take courses at BHI to stay abreast of new information in areas such as HIV/AIDS, medical errors, diabetes and environmental health and safety. Students can then use some of this completed training to apply for federal relicensing.
Daisy Oropesa, BHI’s school administrator, states that more than 300 students have graduated from the Institute to date. These alumni go on to work with doctors or perform the services as self-employed practitioners. Two of the graduates have become instructors at the school.
BHI’s Benefifits To Clients
Similar to a reputable beauty school that trains hair stylists, clients can come to BHI for treatments that are more reasonably priced than what they may find at a medical spa facility, yet they can rest assured that the students who will work on them are fully trained and supervised.
Of course, some procedures are performed by licensed technicians, or by the two staff doctors that work with BHI – the center’s medical director, Dr. Robert Miles, an expert in the field of body sculpting (liposuction, vaser lipo, etc.), and Dr. Donald DiIenno, who trains BHI students in CO2 laser dermabrasion.
Schools like BHI aren’t required to have physicians on staff, but Don and Rita still choose to do so. This further ensures that both clients and students are in capable hands. You can make appointments for electrolysis, laser treatments, body sculpting, facials, permanent make-up, Botox, microdermabrasion and other skin resurfacings, lymphology and tattoo removal. Many of these can be done at BHI for a fraction of the cost of what you might spend at a high-end med spa.
Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating or resurfacing procedure that can rejuvenate the skin to look younger and smoother. There’s also fractional laser skin resurfacing to treat numerous skin conditions like wrinkles, stretch marks, acne, surgical scars, rosacea and other blotchy skin discolorations.
Rita says requests for tattoo removal have increased at the school, especially among teens and young adults who deeply regret getting tattooed or where they had tattoos placed on their bodies, as some tattoos can be a deterrent to getting a good job. BHI was featured in a 2009 Tampa Tribune article for its expertise in this procedure.
Lymphology is a cleansing of the lymph tissues, which tend to hold harmful toxins in the body, and is useful during the healing process from surgeries that cause water retention and swelling.
So, whether you’re interested in a career helping people by being trained to perform these treatments, or you would like to have a procedure done yourself, visit the Beauty & Health Institute at 11309 Countryway Blvd. (near the Westchase area and Westfield Citrus Park mall). You also may visit BHICareer.com. For appointments or more information, call 749-1800.