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Sun Safety Policy at Work and School

Sun Safety Policy at Work and School

KB scientists, research staff, and collaborators are presenting research findings at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. One presentation and one poster address sun protection and skin cancer prevention policy in workplaces and schools:

Moderators of Implementation of Occupational Sun Protection Policy

Outdoor workers are at high risk for skin cancer. Dr. David Buller, KB Director of Research and SBM Fellow, is giving a presentation on the Sun Safe Workplaces Project. In this study, organizational and employee characteristics were examined as moderators of implementation of occupational sun protection policy. Public employers (n=98) in Colorado participated in a randomized controlled trial evaluating the Sun Safe Workplaces (SSW) intervention. Based on Diffusion of Innovations Theory, project staff promoted sun safety policy adoption and trained workers in sun protection. Line supervisors (n=3,650) and workers (n=1,555) completed a two-year follow-up survey at 68 employers. Among other findings, greater communication with employees occurred by employers with a policy than without one. The research was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (R01CA134705; Dr. David Buller, PI). Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Mary Buller, and Lucia Liu from KB participated on the research team. Additional collaborators include Dr. Allan Wallis from the University of Colorado, Denver, and Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

Correlates of Sun Safe Policy Implementation Among Elementary Schools

In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, citing its high and increasing prevalence and cost. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General identified sun safety in schools as a priority to reduce UV exposure and sunburns of children, with school district policy a key aspect of school-based efforts to prevent skin cancer. Dr. Kim Reynolds, KB Collaborator from Claremont Graduate University (CGU), is presenting a poster on the Sun Safe Schools Project.  This study explored correlates of the implementation of sun-safe practices, consistent with district board policy, among principals and teachers in public elementary schools. The sample included elementary school principals (N=118) and teachers (N=113) recruited from 40 California public school districts that had adopted Board Policy 5141.7 for sun safety and posted it online. Principals and teachers from the elementary schools reported on student sun protection policies and practices when surveyed. The study looked at the number of practices implemented consistent with California Senate Bill 1632 (Billy’s Bill), which protects the right of students to apply sunscreen at school without a physician note and to wear UV-protective clothing including hats on school grounds. Improved awareness of the existence and content of district board policy for sun safety may increase implementation of school skin cancer prevention.

This research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (R01HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, KB, PIs). Collaborators included Julia Berteletti and Mary Buller form KB, Kim Massie from CGU, Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California and Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

Accuracy of Principal and Teacher Knowledge of School District Sun Protection Policies in California Schools

Accuracy of Principal and Teacher Knowledge of School District Sun Protection Policies in California Schools

School policies that improve sun safety for children are essential to comprehensive school-based skin cancer prevention; however, a policy is only successful if school administration and teachers are aware of it and implement it. California was one of the first states that enacted legislation governing sun protection for students in public schools. In a recent publication in Preventing Chronic Disease, KB’s Dr. David Buller, Julia Berteletti and Mary Buller along with collaborators at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (KPCHR) and the non-profit organization, Sun Safety for Kids (SSK), discuss how they explored the extent and accuracy of knowledge among principals and teachers in California public school districts about the content written in their district’s written sun safety policy.

Elementary schools in California school districts were recruited to a parent study via their principal and were eligible if 1) they subscribed to the California School Boards Association, 2) had adopted the recommended sun safety Sample Board Policy (designated BP 5141.7), and 3) posted their version of Board Policy 5141.7 online. A total of 118 principals provided consent for their school to participate and nominated one teacher or staff member who would be involved in implementing sun safety practices at the school and 109 of the 118 teachers completed the baseline survey.

The baseline survey for both principal and teacher asked whether or not the school district had a policy on sun protection for students. Those who answered yes were presented with a list of policy components and asked to indicate which components were included in the policy. Respondents were also asked about job characteristics, skin type, personal or family history of skin cancer, and demographic characteristics. Policy knowledge among principals and teachers was compared with the content of the written school district sun safety policy and principals’ and teachers’ knowledge of each component was classified as accurate or inaccurate.

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Sun Safe Policies in Elementary Schools

Sun Safe Policies in Elementary Schools

School policies that improve sun safety for children are essential to comprehensive school-based skin cancer prevention. California was one of the first states that enacted legislation governing sun protection for students in public schools. In a research letter recently published in JAMA Dermatology, KB’s Julia Berteletti, Dr. David Buller and Lucia Liu along with collaborators at Claremont Graduate University and the non-profit organization, Sun Safety for Kids, looked at how elementary schools in California adopted a policy for sun safety as recommended by the California School Boards Association (CSBA), a nonprofit membership-based education association representing elected officials who govern public school districts.

The Sample Policy, created through a collaboration with CSBA during a previous study, was based on sun safety recommendations put forth by California law and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and was disseminated to member school districts. The authors examined the content of sun safety policies for any deviation from the Sample Policy for 190 member districts that included elementary schools, subscribed to CSBA policy services, and posted their Board Policy online. The sun safety content of the Sample Policy and each districts’ sun safety policy was coded in 11 categories, such as sunscreen use, UV protective clothing, student education, and shade provision. Each policy was scored on content per category, strength of action specified, and intent for sun protection.

The majority of policies addressed sunscreen, protective clothing and hats. Most included shade, scheduling of outdoor activities to avoid peak UV hours, staff modeling and parent outreach. 75% of policies included student education. Educating teachers, resource allocation, and accountability were addressed in almost no policies. Also, 40% of districts altered their own policy to remove some content from the CSBA Sample Policy. The most frequently removed items were student education, outdoor shade or parent outreach. Authors also found that districts that removed content had significantly more students and administrators than those that adopted the Sample Policy verbatim.

Authors concluded that the CSBA played an influential role in the school districts’ adoption of sun safety policy and suggest that establishing a partnership with a similar association could be an important part of achieving school-based skin cancer prevention.

This research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, Claremont Graduate University and Dr. David Buller, KB, Principal Investigators).