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Supporting Implementation of Sun Safety Policies in Schools

Supporting Implementation of Sun Safety Policies in Schools

Many schools in California are working to increase sun protection practices by students, parents, teachers, and staff in an effort to reduce over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation and prevent skin cancer in the long term. A paper published recently in Preventive Medicine presents the results of a large randomized trial assessing an intervention designed to close a sun safety policy-practice gap in California elementary schools. The trial tested the hypothesis that schools with sun safety policies randomly assigned to receive the Sun Safe Schools intervention would implement more sun safety practices than schools in a minimal information control group.

Research collaborators from Claremont Graduate University, Klein Buendel, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Sun Safety for Kids, Inc. implemented the Sun Safe Schools program in 118 elementary schools from 40 California public school districts. Each school district had a school board-approved policy for sun safety (Board Policy 5141.7). The 20-month intervention was delivered to principals and included a coaching session, telephone and email contacts, resources for implementing sun protection practices, and a small grant program (for example, to purchase sunscreen for students).

The Sun Safe Schools intervention was effective at narrowing the sun safety policy-practice gap in participating California elementary schools. The program increased the total number of sun safety practices implemented by intervention schools compared to control schools. Also, more intervention schools’ sun safety practices reflected elements of district policy and sometimes went beyond the elements included in district policy. Detailed descriptions of the sample, measures, methods, analyses, outcomes, strengths, and limitations of the randomized controlled trial can be found in the Preventive Medicine publication.

The 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 (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, Claremont Graduate University, and Dr. David Buller, Multiple Principal Investigators). Coauthors, in addition to Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Buller, include Kim Massie formerly from CGU; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon; and Julia Berteletti and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

Factors Impacting Sun Protection in California Schools

Factors Impacting Sun Protection in California Schools

Findings from a school-based sun safety study, Sun Safe Schools, were published recently in the Journal of School Health. The research team from Klein Buendel, Claremont Graduate University, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Sun Safety for Kids examined the correlates of sun safety policy implementation in California public school districts.

In 2002, California was the first state to enact legislation governing sun protection for students. It is California Education Code Section 35183.5. In 2005, the Sun Safe Schools research team collaborated with California Schools Board Association to develop a comprehensive Sample Board Policy for sun safety (BP 5141.7) based on California law and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study included California public school districts that had already adopted the board-approved sun safety policy.

For the study, principals and teachers completed an online survey about sun protection policies and practices. Respondents reported on the implementation of ten school practices related to BP 5141.7 and indicated which practices, if any, were implemented in their school. Years in public education, years worked in the current district, perception that parents should take action to protect children from the sun, and respondents’ personal skin types were associated with the number of practices implemented in the school.

A full description of the methods, analyses, results, conclusions, and limitations can be found in the publication. In summary, the authors concluded that policy implementation is more likely among schools with experienced faculty, when parents are seen as important partners in student skin cancer prevention, and when school principals and teachers have a personal skin type at lower risk for melanoma.

The Sun Safe Schools program was a collaborative research effort of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Klein Buendel. The 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 (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators included Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Kim Massie previously from CGU; and Julia Berteletti, Xia (Lucia) Liu, and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

Economic Analysis of a School-based Sun Protection Program

Economic Analysis of a School-based Sun Protection Program

The U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called on the nation’s schools to help prevent skin cancer by implementing sun safety practices and policies. The Sun Safe Schools program was designed by Klein Buendel researchers and collaborators in response to those calls to action. The program was implemented and evaluated with 118 public elementary schools in California school districts with formal sun safety policy. Administrators of schools randomized to the Sun Safe Schools intervention group received phone and email support for implementing school sun safety practices by trained coaches over 20 months.

A significant part of the program evaluation — an economic analysis — has been e-published ahead of print in the American Journal of Health Promotion. The lead author is Dr. Richard Meenan, a Senior Investigator and Health Economist from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

The publication reports the methods, analyses, results, conclusions, and limitations of the economic analysis. Sun Safe Schools program delivery costs were micro-costed and self-reported school practices were organized into ten categories that were assigned labor and non-labor costs. Across 53 intervention schools, per-student delivery costs averaged $0.69, of which $0.44 represented school administrator time. Program delivery costs, the costs of implementing sun safety practices (such as student education, parent outreach, and shade construction), and predictors of costs are detailed in the publication.

The authors conclude that a program of phone and email coaching of elementary school administrators in school districts with formal sun safety policies can stimulate implementation of sun safety practices at a reasonable cost. The results can assist school administrators with the implementation of sun safety practices.

The Sun Safe Schools program was a collaborative research effort of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Klein Buendel. The 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 (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel, Multiple Principal Investigators). Other collaborators included Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Kim Massie previously from CGU; and Julia Berteletti, Xia (Lucia) Liu, and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

Hispanic Tattoo Artists as Skin Cancer Prevention Influencers

Hispanic Tattoo Artists as Skin Cancer Prevention Influencers

Skin cancer is increasing in the Hispanic population and there is a public health need for campaigns to target this often-underrepresented population. In a recent publication in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD), authors from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Klein Buendel examine how Hispanic tattoo artists can serve as skin cancer prevention advocates for the Hispanic population. JDD also released a podcast with the authors about the study earlier this month.

Multiple in-depth interviews were conducted with Hispanic tattoo artists at various tattoo studios in Salt Lake City, Utah. The interviews provided insight into the artist’s skin cancer knowledge, their current sun safety recommendations to clients, and their willingness to incorporate skin cancer prevention into their future work routines.

Data analysis indicated that a most of the artists had a large percentage of Hispanic clients and repeat customers. All artists also had some level of skin cancer knowledge, though not extensive enough to provide basic sun protection tips in their regular tattoo aftercare instructions to clients (such as what specific Sun Protection Factor to use, when to reapply sunscreen, and the use of cover up clothing). Despite this, all artists were enthusiastic about providing sun safety messages on their social media pages and would be willing to partake in some level of skin cancer prevention training and education in the future.

With lengthy tattoo sessions and repeat clientele, Hispanic tattoo artists could serve as beneficial influencers in the early detection of skin cancers in the Hispanic population. Researchers concluded that by providing comprehensive full-body sun protection information to their clients through tattoo aftercare instructions, alerting clients to suspicious moles, and using social media messages, Hispanic tattoo artists could have a big impact on their clients’ skin health. The study’s complete analysis and discussion can be found in the publication.

This project was funded by a grant and a supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA206569; Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Dr. Robert Dellavalle, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors include Dr. Cristian Gonzalez, and Dr. Adrian Pona from the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Dr. Barbara Walkosz from Klein Buendel; and Dr. Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center Dermatology Service.

Parents’ Reports of School Communication on Sun Safety

Parents’ Reports of School Communication on Sun Safety

The U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called on the nation’s schools to help prevent skin cancer by implementing sun safety practices and policies. The Sun Safe Schools program was designed by Klein Buendel researchers and collaborators in response to those calls to action. The program was implemented and evaluated with 118 public elementary schools in California.

Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel Director of Research, presented data on the impact of the Sun Safe Schools intervention on parents’ reports of sun safety communication from schools and children’s sun protection behavior at the 12th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health in Washington, DC, December 4-6, 2019.

Schools randomized to the Sun Safe Schools intervention group (N=58) received support for implementing school sun safety practices by trained coaches over 20 months. Based on Diffusion of Innovations Theory, support and resources for implementation were tailored to school principals’ readiness to implement. Parents completed an online posttest survey through invitations sent by principals or while attending parent-oriented school events. Parents were surveyed to test the hypothesis that parents would report more communication about sun safety at schools receiving the intervention than at control schools.

The Sun Safe Schools program appeared to increase communication on sun safety and the use of student sun protection. Parents in intervention schools were more likely to report receiving information about sun safety from the school and that their children wore sun-protective clothing than in control schools. The improvement in sun safety appeared to result from policy implementation. In schools where principals reported implementing sun safety practices at posttest, parents reported that children spent less time outdoors and had fewer sunburns than at non-implementing schools. Further, parents who received information about sun safety from the school reported more sun protection for their child than parents not receiving the information.

In summary, a school district-level policy, combined with active technical support for schools within the district, appears to be effective at increasing implementation of school sun safety practices to help protect children from solar ultraviolet radiation, the primary risk factor for the development of skin cancer.

The Sun Safe Schools program is a joint research effort of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Klein Buendel. The 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 (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, Multiple Principal Investigators). Other collaborators included Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Kim Massie previously from Chapman University; and Julia Berteletti and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

The Importance of Managers’ Awareness of Sun Protection Policy

The Importance of Managers’ Awareness of Sun Protection Policy

Improving occupational sun protection is a priority in the United States, as The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer highlights. Klein Buendel and its collaborators responded to the call by launching a randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a workplace sun protection program for outdoor workers. The program, Sun Safe Workplaces, was implemented with 98 public employers in Colorado, a state with high ultraviolet radiation due to its high elevation and sunny climate. The intervention promoted the adoption or strengthening of sun safety policy and the implementation of employee sun protection training. A two-year follow-up study also was completed with 68 of the 98 public sector employers.

In a recent publication in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, and her coauthors reported results related to the hypothesis that senior managers’ awareness of sun protection policy in the workplace would predict increased sun safety practices by employers and employees who work outdoors.

A full description of the methods (questionnaires and on-site observations), results, conclusions, and limitations of the research can be found in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine publication. In general, more sun safety messages, manager-employee communication, sun safety practices, and sun protection equipment (sunscreen, hats, etc. ) were evident when senior managers were more aware of their organization’s sun protection policy.

Overall, the authors found that occupational sun protection programs can be more effective on the “front line” (with people who work outdoors) when the “back office” (senior management) is aware of and can, therefore, support and encourage their organization’s sun safety policies and practices.

This analysis was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (CA134705; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Principal Investigators). Dr. Walkosz’s coauthors on this paper included Dr. David Buller, Ms. Mary Buller, and Ms. Xia (Lucia) Liu from Klein Buendel, and Dr. Allan Wallis from the University of Colorado Denver.

Sun Safety Ink! Expands to the Latino Community

Sun Safety Ink! Expands to the Latino Community

Skin cancer rates continue to rise in the Hispanic population. In the last two decades, their annual melanoma incidence has increased by 20% (5). Even though Hispanics are diagnosed at a disproportionately lower level than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs), they are diagnosed with melanoma at a younger age, with a more advanced stage of the disease, and have lower melanoma-specific survival rates than NHWs (1,3).

Klein Buendel’s randomized controlled trial, Sun Safety Ink!, trains tattoo artists to offer skin cancer prevention advice to their clients. A recent diversity supplement will extend the Sun Safety Ink! study by focusing on how this information can be targeted to Hispanic tattoo artists and their clients, especially young adults. The supplement’s goals are to discover new approaches to address the increasing rates of skin cancer in the Hispanic population and to provide insight into the implementation of skin cancer prevention in an often hard-to-reach population.

Over 30% of the Hispanic population has tattoos (4), a rate that is higher than NHWs (25%). Tattoo studios, because they often recommend sun protection in their aftercare instructions, are a unique context in which to promote full body sun protection to Latinos. Sun Safety Ink! will distribute sun safety information to hard-to-reach Hispanic young adults. The diversification of the study sample will provide information on (1) baseline knowledge on sun protection in the Latino population, (2) barriers to sun protection, and (3) at-risk populations.

The supplement includes both formative research and the implementation of the Sun Safety Ink! program. Specifically, tattoo studios with Hispanic artists and clients in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico will be recruited to participate in the study. The tattoo artists will be provided with a version of the Sun Safety Ink! training modified based on formative research conducted by Cristian Gonzalez, MD. Dr. Gonzalez is a Research Fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and an upcoming Medical Resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Gonzalez explained that the most important aspect of this project is that “Latinos have this invincibility factor that they think they can’t get skin cancer because they don’t know a lot of family members or friends with skin cancer, so sometimes it really doesn’t come up. If we can increase awareness of skin cancer in the Latino community, and if we can also improve sun protection behavior, I think we would see a reduction in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in the future.”

Sun Safety Ink! is funded by a grant and a supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA206569; Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Dr. Robert Dellavalle, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators include Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Dr. David Buller, Mary Buller, Rachel Eye, and Savanna Olivas from Klein Buendel; and Dr. Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Dr. Cristian Gonzalez

References

  1. Coups EJ, Stapleton JL, Hudson SV, Medina-Forrester A, Natale-Pereira A, Goydos JS. Sun protection and exposure behaviors among Hispanic adults in the United States: differences according to acculturation and among Hispanic subgroups. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:985.
  2. Hay J, Coups EJ, Ford J, DiBonaventura M. Exposure to mass media health information, skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection behaviors in a United States probability sample. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2009;61(5):783-792. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.04.023.PMC2854488
  3. Harvey VM, Oldfield CW, Chen JT, Eschbach K. Melanoma disparities among US Hispanics: use of the social ecological model to contextualize reasons for inequitable outcomes and frame a research agenda. Journal of Skin Cancer. 2016;2016:4635740. doi: 10.1155/2016/4635740
  4. One in five U.S. adults now has a tattoo [press release]. New York, NY: Harris Insights & Analytics, February 23. Available at:  https://theharrispoll.com/new-york-n-y-february-23-2012-there-is-a-lot-of-culture-and-lore-associated-with-tattoos-from-ancient-art-to-modern-expressionism-and-there-are-many-reasons-people-choose-to-get-or-not-get-p/.
  5. Skin cancer rates soar in US Hispanics. Sun & Skin News. November 21, 2013;30(4). https://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/winter-2013-30-4/soar.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.

The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early – and that includes melanoma.

Here are some helpful resources for information, graphics, and materials to raise awareness about skin cancer and help people take action to prevent or detect it early when it is easier to treat.

American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Healthfinder.gov- Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin Cancer Foundation

Real Health Photos

Use Real Health Photos® for improving the impact of health messages for Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The stock photography website includes numerous images of diverse people being sun safe with hats, sunglasses, shade, and sunscreen. Real Health Photos images show diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, age, income level, and health condition.

For more images, visit Real Health Photos.

Real Health Photos is a stock photography service owned and operated by KB. It was created and evaluated with a research grant (R44MD003338, Mary Buller, Principal Investigator) from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. Real Health Photos is designed to capture the diversity of health through photography and promote the inclusion of all populations in health promotion materials and media.

Implementation of Sun Safety Policies in Public Elementary Schools

Implementation of Sun Safety Policies in Public Elementary Schools

Klein Buendel Research Program Manager, Julia Berteletti, presented insights from a randomized controlled trial that tested a technical assistance program designed to help principals implement district sun safety policies in elementary schools at the 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, March 6-9, 2019 in Washington, DC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Surgeon General have advised the nation’s schools to adopt and implement sun protection policy to reduce children’s exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation to prevent skin cancer. A total of 118 elementary schools from 40 California public school districts that had adopted a school board-approved policy for sun safety were recruited and the principal and a teacher at each school reported on school sun protection practices at baseline and posttest.

Half of the schools were randomly assigned to receive the 20-month Sun Safe Schools intervention, delivered by trained Sun Safety Coaches who met with principals, described the district policy, helped them select and plan implementation of sun safety practices, and provided support and resources matched to the principal’s readiness to implement practices based on Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Control schools received a minimal information treatment containing basic school sun safety information from the CDC, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and U.S. Surgeon General.

Compared to controls, principals at intervention schools reported implementing more sun safety practices in general, whether present in the district’s written policy or not. Similarly, teachers at intervention schools reported implementing a larger number of sun safety practices in general, including practices in their district’s written policy or not, compared with control schools. Overall, the intervention was effective at increasing sun safety practices in public elementary schools. However, convincing school districts to adopt policies may be only the first step in improving sun safety practices becasue districts need to actively disseminate the new policy to schools and provide assistance and materials to facilitate implementation.

This research was supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, Principal Investigator). Collaborators in addition to Julia Berteletti, include Dr. Kim Reynolds and Kim Massie from Claremont Graduate University in California; Dr. David Buller and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in, California; and Dr. Richard Meenan from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon.

Implementation of Occupational Sun Safety at a 2-Year Follow-Up in a Randomized Trial

Implementation of Occupational Sun Safety at a 2-Year Follow-Up in a Randomized Trial

The American Academy of Dermatology acknowledges that outdoor workers receive more UV radiation exposure and are at a higher risk for skin cancer than other workers.1 In a recent article e-published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, KB’s Dr. David Buller, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, and Mary Buller, along with multiple collaborators, evaluated the implementation of sun protection policies two years after the initial intervention, called Sun Safe Workplaces (SSW), in cities, counties, and special districts in Colorado with workers in public works, public safety, and parks and recreation. Authors were also interested in whether or not the organizational characteristics had an effect on the implementation of the sun safety policies.

In the original 24-month long study, 98 government organizations in Colorado were enrolled in 2010 and 2011 and half were randomly selected to receive the SSW intervention, where the primary outcome was adoption of a sun protection policy. Each of the organizations’ written workplace policies were assessed and senior managers completed surveys before and after the intervention. In 2015 and 2016, two years after the intervention was completed, the organizations were contacted for a second follow-up and 63 of the original 98 agreed to participate. Self-administered surveys were given to frontline supervisors and employees who worked outdoors by key contact managers. Project staff visited each organization to conduct semi structured interviews with key managers and complete an audit of the workplace for sun protection messages and items.

Implementation of sun protection policies was measured in three ways: 1) inspection of the workplace for sun protection messages and personal sun protection items, such as shade structures or sunscreen; 2) reports from frontline supervisors on whether the organization communicated with employees about sun safety, had unwritten standard operating procedures on sun safety, or provided personal sun protection equipment for employees, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, etc.; and 3) reports from employees on whether they had received any training on sun safety at the workplace or sun safety communication from the organization or a coworker.

Results showed that two years after the initial intervention, sun protection messages and sun protection items were used more often in organizations that were originally part of the intervention group compared to the control group. Survey responses from frontline supervisors at intervention organizations also showed more communication about sun protection to employees, more standard operating procedures on sun safety and more free/reduced cost sunscreen than those from control organizations. Sun protection training and sun safety communication from coworkers and the employer was higher in intervention organizations when compared to control organizations. Additionally, organizations with a sun protection policy implemented more sun safety actions (communication about sun safety and provided personal sun protection equipment) than organizations without a policy.

The authors conclude that the SSW intervention appeared to increase local government organizations’ sun safety actions over time. Authors state that formal policies on sun protection and training together appear to be an important part of occupational sun protection efforts. A full description of the methods, results, conclusions, and limitations of this study can be found in the publication in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

This research was funded by the National Cancer Institute (CA187191; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Principal Investigators). Collaborators/coauthors include Mary Buller from Klein Buendel, Dr. Allan Wallis from the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Peter Andersen from San Diego State University, Dr. Michael Scott from Mikonics, Inc., Dr. Richard Meenan from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, and Dr. Gary Cutter from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Reference

  1. Outdoor workers and skin cancer. Safety+Health. September 23, 2018. Available at: https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17480-outdoor-workers-and-skin-cancer. Accessed January 14, 2019.