228387 Sun Safe Schools: An effective program to motivate and support school districts to adopt sun protection policies for students

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 5:15 PM - 5:30 PM

David B. Buller, PhD , Klein Buendel, Golden, CO
Kim D. Reynolds, PhD , School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, San Dimas, CA
Jeff Ashley, MD , Sun Safety for Kids, Inc., Burbank, CA
Mary Klein Buller, MA , Klein Buendel, Golden, CO
Ilima Kane, BS , Klein Buendel, Inc., Golden, CO
Cheri Stabell, MPH , Consultant, Consultant, Glendora, CA
Kim Massie , School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, San Dimas, CA
Xia Liu, MS , Klein Buendel, Golden, CO
In 2002, CDC recommended that the nation's schools establish policies that reduce exposure to UV radiation in sunlight to decrease students' lifetime risk of skin cancer. The Sun Safe Schools program was developed to promote adoption of sun protection policies by public school districts. The 2-year program provided information, tools and technical assistance to district administrators through printed materials, a website, meetings by health educators, and presentations to school boards. Sun Safe Schools was evaluated in a randomized pretest-posttest controlled trial, enrolling 112 public school districts in Southern California (n=56) and Colorado (n=56). Formal school-board approved policies were obtained from 103 districts (92%) at pretest and posttest and coded for presence (0=no, 1=yes), strength (0= not address, 1=allow/recommend, 2=require), and sun protection intent (0=indirect, 1=direct) of 10 sun protection content areas. Twelve districts receiving Sun Safe Schools changed their policies and increased sun safety content while 6 districts in the control group did so. Analyses showed that intervention districts (adjusted M=3.06) adopted sun safety policies that were stronger than control districts (adjusted M=1.78; range=0-13; p=0.041 [2-tailed]). Intervention districts (adjusted M=2.29) also tended to increase the number of sun protection content areas compared to control districts (adjusted M=1.43; range=0-9; p=0.059 [2-tailed]), but this difference was not significant. Sun Safe Schools improved policies most on outreach to parents (19.2% intervention; 5.9% control, p=0.041 [2-tailed]). A multi-faceted technical assistance program can increase adoption of policies for reducing UV exposure of students by public school districts. Future research should explore how policies are implemented.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Name the content areas included in school district policies to reduce exposure to UV radiation in sunlight among students. 2. Describe technical assistance provided to public school districts for the adoption of school sun protection policies. 3. Evaluate the impact of technical assistance on the adoption of school-board approved sun protection policies for students.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigators on the trial being presented. I am a Professor at Claremont Graduate University and conduct research into successful intervention to improve health behavior and prevent chronic disease. My work includes designing and evaluating skin cancer prevention interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.