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Sun smart: Teaching kids to protect themselves from skin cancer


Protecting your skin from the sun starting at an early age is an important way to guard against skin cancer. That‘s the message a group of medical students shares with elementary school students each spring.

sun“Our goal is to make the kids understand that what they do now will affect them in the future,” says Nathalie Morales, a first-year medical student and president of Upstate‘s Dermatology Interest Group. Members share “sun smart” messages through the Sun Smart Syracuse project.

The project began with the Salt City Road Warriors, a group of local runners that wanted to help raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer, which is on the rise in younger populations. Warrior Maureen Clark contacted Upstate dermatologist Ramsay Farah, MD, who got the dermatology students involved.

In age-appropriate presentations, the students cover the ABCs of sun protection and point out the dangerous societal pressures that encourage tanning, either in the sun or in tanning beds. Then they hand out sunscreen donated by Wegmans and Australian Gold, UV detection bracelets and sunscreen application-tracking calendars.

The dermatology group is interested in scheduling presentations to school and youth groups for spring 2017. Contact vice president Amanda Gemmiti at [email protected].

How your group can donate

The running group Salt City Road Warriors raises money for the Upstate Foundation, which manages a variety of funds that support Upstate‘s mission. To learn how to set up a fund, contact the foundation at 315-464-4416.

Layout 1This article appears in the summer 2016 issue of Cancer Care magazine.