Browsed by
Month: August 2020

Sales of Recreational Cannabis to Alcohol-Intoxicated Customers

Sales of Recreational Cannabis to Alcohol-Intoxicated Customers

To prevent harm, some U.S. states have laws prohibiting the sale of recreational marijuana to alcohol-intoxicated customers. In a recent publication in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Klein Buendel researchers and collaborators evaluated an online responsible marijuana vendor (RMV) training program – Train to Tend – and its performance at deterring sales to apparently alcohol-intoxicated customers in recreational cannabis stores. Much like the training of responsible alcohol sales practices, RMV training may prove beneficial for helping to keep customers and communities safe.

One hundred fifty stores from Colorado, Oregon, and Washington were enrolled in the randomized controlled trial. Half of the stores were randomly selected to receive Train to Tend training. One of the five online training modules addressed recognizing signs of impairment and intoxication, refusing sales to intoxicated patrons, and understanding the risks of driving under the influence of cannabis.

The evaluation employed pseudo-patron pairs, one of which displayed obvious signs of alcohol intoxication. The refusal of cannabis sales to the pseudo-intoxicated buyers was very low. In some cases, store personnel made comments or expressed suspicion towards buyers’ behavior, but continued with the sale nonetheless. Refusal rates between intervention and control stores were not significantly different. Overall, responsible marijuana vending practices alone did not appear to influence the reduction of marijuana sales to customers with obvious signs of alcohol intoxication. A full description of the methods, results, and discussion can be found in the publication.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (DA038933; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Co-authors on the publication include Dr. Robert Saltz from the Prevention Research Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in California; Dr. Gary Cutter from the University of Alabama, Birmingham; and Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Andrew Grayson, and Sierra Svendsen from Klein Buendel.

Using Machine Learning Techniques to Predict Sunburn Risk in Outdoor Exercisers

Using Machine Learning Techniques to Predict Sunburn Risk in Outdoor Exercisers

In response to recreational UV exposure being associated with skin cancer (1), Julia Berteletti, MSW, and David Buller, PhD, of Klein Buendel have launched a new research project to harness technology to increase individual’s sun safety during outdoor physical activity. The title of the new project is “Using Retrospective and Real-Time Physical Activity Tracking to Predict Risk of Sunburn in Outdoor Exercisers on Strava.”

The Strava Sun Project is based on evidence that individuals who engage in more physical activity have a higher prevalence of sunburn (2, 3-6), a proximal biomarker of melanoma risk, and melanoma is positively associated with physical activity (7). For some athletes, forgetting to apply sunscreen (8,9) or not liking its feel while engaged in physical activity can be barriers to sun protection (8,10). An expert meeting hosted by the National Cancer Institute identified sun safety during physical activity as a priority research area (11) and the U.S. Surgeon General prioritized strategies for coordinating messages on sun safety and physical activity in the Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer (12).

Online and mobile technologies for tracking physical activity have exploded over the past decade. Many Americans wear activity trackers or GPS-enabled devices, such as  Fitbit and Garmin, and upload their physical activity data to websites/mobile apps. Strava, an activity tracking app and social networking site for athletes of all abilities, is one of the most popular. Millions share their own activities and follow and comment on physical activity by other users in their network. The goal of this project is to increase skin cancer prevention among a high-risk population, adults who engage in outdoor physical activity by establishing feasibility of interfacing sun protection advice with the Strava website/mobile app.

Specifically, the research will create an algorithm that predicts when individuals are likely to be engaged in physical activity outdoors, and delivers sun safety advice tailored to time, location, and personal risk (for example, skin sun sensitivity). The Strava Sun program will obtain user data and deliver ecologically-valid sun safety advice by utilizing Strava’s open-source Applications Programming Interface (API) and location-based advice algorithms developed by Klein Buendel for the sun safety mobile app, sunZapp (13). Machine learning techniques will be employed to develop an algorithm using Strava activities to predict high-risk behavior, such as outdoor physical activity when UV levels are high and sun safety is advised.

Overall, a sun protection interface for the Strava platform will allow for the identification of a large population of Americans at high risk for skin cancer who routinely engage in physical activity, often outdoors with high-risk sun exposure, and reach them with sun safety advice they may not seek on their own to motivate them to practice sun safety during outdoor activities.

This project is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (CA241637; Dr. David Buller and Ms. Julia Berteletti, Multiple Principal Investigators). Co-Investigators include Dr. Kim Henry and Dr. Chuck Anderson from Colorado State University. Other collaborators include Dr. Sherry Pagoto from the University of Connecticut and Mr. Scott Camichael, a recent software engineer at Strava. Developers at Klein Buendel will produce the API database and program.


  1. Moehrle M. Outdoor sports and skin cancer. Clin Dermatol. 2008;26(1):12-15.
  2. Holman DM, Ding H, Guy GP, Jr., Watson M, Hartman AM, Perna FM. Prevalence of Sun Protection Use and Sunburn and Association of Demographic and Behaviorial Characteristics With Sunburn Among US Adults. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(5):561-568.
  3. Holman DM, Berkowitz Z, Guy GP, Jr., Hartman AM, Perna FM. The association between demographic and behavioral characteristics and sunburn among U.S. adults – National Health Interview Survey, 2010. Prev Med. 2014;63:6-12.
  4. Hall HI, Saraiya M, Thompson T, Hartman A, Glanz K, Rimer B. Correlates of sunburn experiences among U.S. adults: results of the 2000 National Health Interview Survey. Public Health Rep. 2003;118(6):540-549.
  5. Coups EJ, Manne SL, Heckman CJ. Multiple skin cancer risk behaviors in the U.S. population. Am J Prev Med. 2008;34(2):87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2007.09.032
  6. Lawler S, Sugiyama T, Owen N. Sun exposure concern, sun protection behaviors and physical activity among Australian adults. Cancer Causes Control. 2007;18(9):1009-1014.
  7. Moore SC, Lee IM, Weiderpass E, et al. Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(6):816-825.
  8. Petty KN, Knee CR, Joseph AK. Sunscreen use among recreational cyclists: how intentions predict reported behavior. J Health Psychol. 2012;18(3):439-447.
  9. Wysong A, Gladstone H, Kim D, Lingala B, Copeland J, Tang JY. Sunscreen use in NCAA collegiate athletes: Identifying targets for intervention and barriers to use. Prev Med. 2012;55(5):493-496.
  10. Berndt NC, O’Riordan DL, Winkler E, McDermott L, Spathonis K, Owen N. Social cognitive correlates of young adult sport competitors’ sunscreen use. Health Educ Behav. 2011;38(1):6-14.
  11. Geller AC, Jablonski NG, Pagoto SL, et al. Interdisciplinary perspectives on sun safety. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(1):88-92. PMC5839662.
  12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General;2014.
  13. Heron KE, Smyth JM. Ecological momentary interventions: incorporating mobile technology into psychosocial and health behaviour treatments. Br J Health Psychol. 2010;15(Pt 1):1-39.

Dr. Robert Dellavalle Honored by Melanoma Research Foundation

Dr. Robert Dellavalle Honored by Melanoma Research Foundation

Robert P. Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH, is being honored with the first Excellence in Prevention Award from the Melanoma Research Foundation at the 2020 Denver Virtual Gala on August 6, 2020. Dr. Dellavalle, a longtime Klein Buendel research collaborator, is a Professor of Dermatology and Public Health at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and chief of the Dermatology Service at the Rocky Mountain Regional Veterans Administration Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

Dr. Dellavalle is a lifelong melanoma awareness advocate and leads a prominent research laboratory focused on skin disease prevention and evidence-based dermatology. His laboratory has investigated skin cancer chemoprevention both in vitro and in clinical practice. Their key discoveries include ranking the most disabling skin diseases in the world and in the United States. The laboratory was also the first to summarize global indoor UV tanning age restriction laws, measure compliance with tanning age restrictions, and call for a tax on UV tanning. The research showed that UV tanning salons target minors using advertisements in high school newspapers and that tanning salon operators do not adequately inform customers of the health risks. These discoveries were featured on national television network nightly news and in the U.S. Surgeon General’s recent Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.

Currently, Dr. Dellavalle is a Multiple Principal Investigator on Sun Safety Ink!: A Skin Cancer Prevention Program for the Tattoo Community (CA206569) and he is a consultant on Using Technology to Scale-up an Occupational Sun Protection Policy Program (Sun Safe Workplaces Technology) (CA134705). Both are Klein Buendel research projects funded by the National Cancer Institute. Sun Safety Ink! is a skin cancer prevention program for tattoo artists and their clients and Sun Safe Workplaces Technology is a scale-up of an occupational sun protection program for State Department of Transportation employees, who work outdoors. Dr. Dellavalle works closely with Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel on these projects.

Dr. Dellavalle has multiple publications in the highest impact scientific journals including Science, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Nature. He is an affiliate of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society of Investigative Dermatology, and the Colorado Dermatologic Society. He is also the coordinating editor of the Cochrane Skin Review, that aims to accept for review any aspect of skin disease management which it feels will be of value to professionals or to lay people with an interest in skin disease. Since 2010 he has co-chaired the Colorado Skin Cancer Task Force promoting sun safety and increasing awareness for skin cancer prevention across Colorado at public community events, employee conferences, and school meetings.

Congratulations, Dr. Dellavalle on a well deserved award!