Community Education & Events

Community Education & Events

SPOTS (Sun Protection Outreach Teaching by Students) is an educational outreach program in which medical students and masters in public health students will be teaching adolescents about the early detection and prevention of skin cancer.

SPOTS is an award winning program and received two Gold Triangle Awards from the American Academy of Dermatology in 2009.

WHY we developed SPOTS?

There has been a notable increase in the incidence of melanoma in children over the past 20 years, particularly adolescents It is the only cancer whose incidence continues to increase at 3-4% annually Melanoma is the primary cancer killer of young women ages 25-30 years

WHY teens?

  • Sun protection programs for teens in the US are few in number and not comprehensive
  • There is not much research data on school-based sun protection programs particularly for adolescents
  • This is the age when experimental behaviors (risk taking) are high and lifelong behavior patterns are adopted
  • This is the age group that spends the most time in the sun and tanning beds.

The main aims of the SPOTS program are:

  • To increase adolescents’ knowledge about, attitudes toward, and intentions to engage in sun protective behaviors.
  • To educate adolescents about early detection and prevention of skin cancer.
  • Promote outreach education in the community by students training in the medical field (physicians, nurses, physician assistants, public health).

What has been studied is the inadequacy and inconsistency of the use of sun protective behaviors in the US and the dire need for improvement.

Please learn more about the SPOTS program at one of the following links:

To request a guest speaker on skin cancer and sun protection.


Jeannie Thornberry, LMSW, MA, CCC-L/SLP

Sun Protection Educational Programs

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Nov, 2020