katie baker farmer market

Friday, July 22, 2011

Since my last post, I have been very, very busy!  First, the skin cancer prevention program I’m developing is really coming together.  At this point, I have developed two of the four modules, completed a formal recording of “Sabrina’s Story,” a local melanoma survivor’s story, with the help of ETSU’s Communications Department, and scheduled meetings with each of our region’s eight county Health Councils as a way of disseminating the program once it’s complete.   As I will be collecting baseline and posttest data from 135 students at David Crockett High School, the pilot site for the program, I will also begin the IRB (Institutional Review Board) application and approval process very soon. 

In addition to working on components of the skin cancer prevention program, I organized and conducted sun safety events at the Johnson City Farmers’ Market and Kingsport’s annual Fun Fest Splash Day and participated in the National Cancer Institute’s Research to Reality Cyber-Seminar “From the Seaside to the Slopes: Implementing Sun Safety Programs through Partnerships.”

Sun Safety at the Johnson City Farmers’ Market

July 16, 2011

Each year, the Washington County Health Council organizes a health fair/health screening event to be held during the Johnson City Farmers’ Market in Johnson City, Tennessee.  This year, the event took place on Saturday, July 16th.  Members of the Health Council invited me to set up a sun safety booth similar to the one we had at the Blue Plum Festival in June, and I gladly accepted their invitation.  For this event, I distributed educational materials donated by the American Cancer Society and Wellmont Health System describing the importance of practicing sun safety and ways to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation (UVR).  I also distributed no-cost protective aids including foam visors from TC2 and sunscreen donated by the American Cancer Society.  Lastly, I counseled those participants that visited my table on the following topics: the dangers of UVR on a cloudy day; choosing the right sunscreen; and skin self-examinations.  One hundred participants registered (i.e., completed a survey) for the Health Fair, and the majority of participants stopped at the sun safety table.  Each participant I spoke with reported intentions to use sunscreen, and approximately 50% took a sunscreen sample from the table.  As the day was cloudy, I was able to educate participants on the importance of wearing sunscreen even in bad weather.

Research to Reality Cyber-Seminar “From the Seaside to the Slopes: Implementing Sun Safety Programs through Partnerships.”

July 19, 2011

Surprisingly, this was my first cyber-seminar, and I must say, I thought this was an excellent mechanism through which to share best practices in public health!  This particular seminar focused on large-scale dissemination of skin cancer prevention/sun safety programs.  From the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, the first two speakers detailed their experiences with the “Mole Patrol” program.  This community service-type program focuses on the provision of free skin cancer screenings to coincide with Major League Baseball’s (MLB) spring training.  To date, the Mole Patrol has partnered with MLB, hospitals affiliated with the Moffitt Cancer Center, local county governments, AAA, local county school boards, and the Air Force.  From 2008-2011, they hosted 59 screening events, screening 6,367 people.  Dr. Dave Buller of Klein Buendel, Inc. in Golden, Colorado presented on his experiences with sun safety programs in occupational settings, specifically ski resort employees.  He explained that to achieve maximum program dissemination and uptake, program developers must use a two-pronged strategy.  First, they must partner with the professional associations in the industry.  Benefits of partnering with professional organizations include: access; legitimacy; problem and solution identification; program development; and the facilitation of dissemination.  Second, they must partner with individual operators/employers to reduce uncertainty about the program, build trust among senior managers, and identify internal champions who will sustain the program. 

I feel as though I can apply several of the lessons I learned during this cyber-seminar to my field experience project.  I intend on partnering with a large organization, the Heath Occupations Students of America (HOSA) group, for access to students and program dissemination.  Also, I will be personally visiting each of the eight county Health Councils in our region to obtain public commitment to the initiative and create a plan for program use.

Sun Safety during Splash Day at Fun Fest’s Kids Central
July 20, 2011
Andrew Johnson Elementary School in Kingsport, Tennessee

For the last several years, the Tennessee Cancer Coalition (TC2) and its local partners have organized a sun safety booth to be held in conjunction with Splash Day at Kingsport’s annual Fun Fest.  This year, TC2 members in our region asked me to organize the booth and attend the event.  This was the largest sun safety event I’ve organized to date.  I distributed many of the same educational materials I used for the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City and the Johnson City Farmers’ Market.  In addition, for this event, I made and gave out UV-bead bracelets from TC2 meant to teach children the importance of wearing sunscreen when the UV rays cause the beads to turn color.  I also distributed no-cost protective aids including sunglasses donated by Wellmont Health System and sunscreen from TC2.  Lastly, I counseled those participants (children and parents/caregivers) that visited our table on the following topics: the dangers of UVR on a cloudy day; the importance of wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and sunglasses to protect the eyes from UVR; and proper sunscreen application (i.e., reapply after getting in the water, etc.).  Over 2,000 children and parents/caregivers attended Fun Fest’s Splash Day.  I estimate that approximately 800 children visited the sun safety table.  When asked if they were wearing sunscreen, approximately 5% reported they were, leaving 95% of children attending the event unprotected against the sun.  I gave sunscreen to each child who reported not wearing any that day; this means I distributed approximately 750 packets of TC2 sunscreen.  I asked each child who visited the table if they could tell me why it was important to wear sunscreen, and approximately 85% responded correctly (i.e., “to keep from getting skin cancer;” “to keep from getting a sunburn”).  In total, I distributed: 500 pairs of sunglasses (donated by Wellmont Health System); 300 UV-bead bracelets (sponsored by TC2); 750 TC2 sunscreen samples; and 25 sun safety pamphlets (donated by ACS).