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"Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation helps us meet our own cross-curricular goals of promoting wellness through awareness."

Marg Rossi, Nurse Leader
Scituate Public Schools
Scituate, Massachusetts


Program Description

The SunAWARE Program is designed to promote our mission to teach children and their caretakers about skin cancer prevention. This program is based upon the SunAWARE acronym that includes five easy action steps for prevention and early detection of skin cancer.

Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan.

Wear sun protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses year-round.

Apply recommended amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sunburn protection factor (SPF) ≥ 30 to all exposed skin and reapply every two hours, or as needed.

Routinely examine your whole body for changes in your skin and report suspicious changes to a parent or healthcare provider.

Educate your family and community about the need to be SunAWARE.

Foundation educators present an interactive, standard-based, cross-curricular program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Annually we educate thousands of school children, teachers, and nurses about sun protection. Innovative technologies, including UV reflectance digital photography and UV monitoring, are utilized to reinforce our lessons. We provide UV meters and recording stations to participating schools to provide ongoing reinforcement. Specialized imaging systems include a Dermascan skin analyzer and the Mirror Photography Program.


The Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation is a member of the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention. We have partnered with the Dermatology Nurses Association and Melanoma Foundation of New England to provide SunAWARE education nationally.

Participating Schools Halifax Team

Foundation educators provide SunAWARE classes in over 100 schools in Massachusetts. We provide professional development for teachers, nurses, and administrators in a system-wide and whole-school approach to raising awareness and reinforcing our message. We promote the annual, nationwide Don't Fry Day campaign by providing educational resources for participating schools.

Multi-level SunAWARE Curriculum

We provide presentations directly to students from kindergarten through grade twelve. Our age and grade-level appropriate curriculum encompasses five main topics: UV intensity, sun sensitivity, proven methods of sun protection, skin cancer recognition and the SunAWARE action steps. Foundation educators work with schools to plan programs tailored to the scheduling needs of teachers. Programs have included classroom presentations, assemblies, health fairs, field days, parent programs, and professional development.

Program Levels:

Kindergarten through 2nd Grade

Jefferson SchoolAt this level, students are introduced to the basics of sun sensitivity and sun protection. UV intensity equipment includes a UV detecting Frisbee that changes color with exposure to UV rays. Foundation educators often use a felt board to illustrate our five topics.

Grade 3 through 5

At this level, lessons highlight various factors that influence UV intensity including planetary rotation and revolution, ozone depletion, surface characteristics, altitude, and weather. Building on the lessons learned earlier, students are taught about individual risk factors associated with skin sensitivity. A Dermascan skin analyzer is used to highlight pigment changes in the skin.

Grade 6 through 8

UV Boy ReflectanceAt this level, we reinforce earlier concepts and introduce the hazards of indoor tanning as well as the fundamentals of skin cancer recognition. A special segment on ocular health as it relates to UV exposure is included. Digital photography is utilized to create specialized individual student photographs that highlight sun damage. Massachusetts Education Frameworks (Grades 6-8) have been applied to the SunAWARE Middle School Program.

High School

melanomaAt this level, we provide a more intense focus on UV exposure patterns and the development of different forms of skin cancer. Students are instructed on how to conduct a skin self-examination to detect melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. An in-depth analysis of societal influences on indoor tanning as well as legislative efforts to combat this problem are addressed. Dermascan skin analysis and digital specialized UV photographs are provided for students to evaluate inherent and acquired risk factors.

Beyond Schools

Krista LectureChildren's Melanoma Prevention Foundation has been invited to extend their SunAWARE Program to adult audiences. Highlights of these programs include the Dermatology Nurses Association, Massachusetts School Nurse Institute, Sun Safety at Sea Seminar, as well community organizations such as public libraries, Rotary Club, health fairs, and YMCA. We partnered with the Dermatology Nurses' Association to educate the public along the Ride4Melanoma racecourse in California, Missouri and Maryland.

Awards and Recognition

  1. Dermatology Nurses' Association President's Award 2009
  2. American Academy of Dermatology Gold Triangle Award (2009)
    • Lake Vacation. Langdon Street Press, Minneapolis: 2008.
    • Pretty Prom. Langdon Street Press, Minneapolis: 2008.
  3. OrthoNeutrogena Dermatology Nurses' Association Research Award (2005)
    • A Sun Protection Community Intervention in Quincy Middle Schools: Insights from the Use of Ultraviolet Photography and its Impact on Sunburn.
  4. OrthoNeutrogena Dermatology Nurses' Association Community Service Award (2002)
    • Community skin cancer prevention education.

Program Support

Our SunAWARE Program is provided free-of-charge to schools. Donations from a variety of sources sustain these efforts and our ongoing growth. We are grateful to our generous supporters for helping us fulfill our mission.