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Sun Safety for America's Youth Toolkit

Image of front cover of the Sun Safety for America's Youth Toolkit

CDC's National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP) funds states, tribal organizations, territories, and U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, to develop and implement comprehensive cancer control (CCC) plans that address a wide variety of cancer prevention and control priorities. This often includes skin cancer prevention. The Sun Safety for America's Youth Toolkit [PDF-1.2MB] is a resource for local CCC programs interested in engaging schools and other education partners in sun safety efforts to reduce skin cancer. Since most sun exposure occurs during childhood and early adulthood and key sun protective behaviors can be established most easily at this time, addressing sun safety for young people is an important cancer control objective.

A wide variety of sun safety programs, materials, and resources are available to organizations interested in implementing sun safety efforts, many of which are described in this toolkit and the accompanying reference documents. This toolkit builds upon lessons learned from CDC's long history of sun safety and skin cancer prevention.

In 2002, CDC released the Guidelines for School Programs to Prevent Skin Cancer.Guidelines for School Programs to Prevent Skin Cancer. The Guidelines provide resources and suggestions for schools to improve sun safety practices in seven major areas: policy, environmental change, education, family involvement, professional development, health services, and evaluation.

To foster implementation of these guidelines, CDC funded three states with Coordinated School Health Programs (Colorado, Michigan, and North Carolina) to conduct pilot skin cancer prevention activities from late 2003 through early 2007. Each state was required to develop an annual work plan that would guide their efforts to address CDC's skin cancer guidelines and develop a partnership with their state CCC program.

This toolkit draws from these efforts and is designed to provide CCC programs with resources and information that will help them to understand the burden of skin cancer in their area, assess local sun safety interest and activity, implement sun safety efforts with schools and key education partners, and evaluate their efforts.

The toolkit consists of four key steps that will help CCC programs move through a logical process for engaging and implementing sun safety efforts for young people—

  • Step I: Identify and Recruit Sun Safety Partners
  • Step II: Assess and Understand Sun Safety Needs and Resources in Your State/Tribe/Territory/Jurisdiction
  • Step III: Plan and Implement Sun Safety Activities
  • Step IV: Evaluate Sun Safety Efforts

Step I describes organizations and individuals CCC programs may want to engage in sun safety planning and implementation. These partners can play an important role in reaching schools and young people to implement and enhance effective sun safety strategies.

Step II provides recommendations for understanding the state skin cancer burden and how to use that information to inform the development and targeting of sun safety efforts. Recommendations and resources are provided for conducting a sun safety program and resource inventory. Resources also are provided to help CCC programs understand the legal and policy issues related to sun safety, and how sun safety may be integrated into school resources and tools.

Step III outlines a process for conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis related to implementation of sun safety activities. Recommendations and resources on selection of sun safety activities are provided as well as examples of activities implemented using the CDC Guidelines for School Programs to Prevent Skin Cancer.

Step IV highlights the importance of evaluation of sun safety efforts and offers examples. We also provide suggestions for modification of state surveillance systems.

Within each step, we provide examples from state sun safety efforts to help CCC programs understand how other programs have used these recommendations, tools, and resources.

The toolkit also includes an extensive sun safety resource list, which highlights potential sun safety partners and other sun safety programs and materials.

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