CASE STUDY

City of Worcester, MA

Worcester, MA
Worcester, MA
Programs

Practice Safe Skin
Safe Skin at Work
IMPACT Shade
No Sun for Babies

Location

Worcester, MA

In March of 2022, DIGA (Dermatology Interest Group Association) member Christopher Fay partnered with IMPACT Melanoma to secure multiple partners within the City of Worcester, MA committed to launching and sustaining a sun safe program.

As a student at the U Mass Chan Medical School in Worcester, Christopher secured funds, sponsors, and grants to fund the effort.

Early on in his efforts, Chris spoke at a City Council meeting and impressed councilor Kathleen Twomey to the degree that she championed the effort helping Chris and IMPACT Melanoma’s Laurie Seavey, navigate the various city entities who were interested.

Stakeholders included:

  • Public Works and Parks Commissioner
  • Parks and Recreation Assistant Commissioner
  • Worcester Housing Authority
  • City of Worcester Health and Human Resources Commissioner
  • City of Worcester Director of Human Resources
  • Worcester Division of Youth Services
  • Worcester Red Sox and Polar Park

Funding Sources:

  • U Mass Chan Medical School
  • U Mass Chan Medical School Grant Award
  • Fallon Health secured as sponsor for Polar Park dispensers

All the above entities were interested in IMPACT Melanoma’s prevention education programs as Worcester was the only region in the state where the incidence of melanoma was increasing.

Public safety sought to increase awareness and education while public works sought to protect their outdoor workers and the Commission for Community Services wanted to implement education programs to raise the awareness of the dangers of UV rays that cause skin cancer. Youth Services sought education about the importance of sunscreen use to promote sun safe habits and the Housing Authority wanted sun safe educational resources available in both English and Spanish.

Practice Safe Skin

Practice Safe Skin
Sunscreen dispensers were installed and maintained throughout high traffic areas in the city. A social vulnerability index (SVI) was used to identify the areas throughout the city where there was the most need for prevention education and access to free sunscreen. Prevention education materials were developed and distributed to the Boys and Girls Clubs through the Division of Youth Services and made available through the Housing Authority.

With the SVI data, sunscreen dispensers were installed and maintained in the following areas throughout the city:

  • 15 sunscreen dispensers at 11 high SVI public parks
  • 11 sunscreen dispensers at seven Worcester Housing Authority locations
  • 10 sunscreen dispensers at six locations for the city’s outdoor workers
  • 10 sunscreen dispensers at Polar Park (9,508 seats)
  • 1 sunscreen dispenser at the Worcester Senior Center

Safe Skin at Work

Save Skin at Work
In the City of Worcester’s Human Resources department, public safety wanted to
educate and protect their outdoor workers. Training was provided to public safety employees and ten sunscreen dispensers were installed and maintained at six locations for the city’s outdoor workers where the workers convened daily to start their day.

IMPACT Shade

Impact Shade logo
Given shade is an important way to protect one’s skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, Worcester Parks & Recreation installed large 8-foot yellow umbrellas in various public parks to offer additional ways to find shade and cool off.

No Sun for Babies

No Sun for Babies

UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester distributed 100 No Sun for Babies cinch bags to new parents and caregivers that included UPF protective baby blankets and educational materials about the importance of protecting infant skin from the sun.

The IMPACT

In 2022, IMPACT Melanoma awarded the City of Worcester the Sun Safe Leadership Award for its programmatic implementation of IMPACT Melanoma’s prevention education programs that reached:

  • Parents and caregivers of infants
  • Boys and Girls Club members
  • Public works workers
  • Thousands of Woo Sox spectators at Polar Park
  • 7,000 to 10,000 people who visit Worcester Housing Authority locations
  • Thousands of visits to public parks
  • Thousands of applications of free sunscreen

At the Boys and Girls Club, Chris Fay and other dermatology students spoke about the importance of skin cancer prevention and incorporated a mentor-like program including career options and life skills.

Chris received the David Mandelbaum Medical Student Grant from the American Skin Association which supports one of his research projects that includes a nationwide survey on the usage of free sunscreen dispensers. Related to this grant and the City of Worcester, QR codes are now on the sunscreen dispensers in Worcester to capture usage data important to further understanding of the impact of providing access to free sunscreen, especially in cities.

What launched in 2022 continues as the sunscreen dispensers are maintained and refilled to reverse the trend and establish ongoing sun safe behaviors using sunscreen and seeking shade.

Be SunSafe 365