North Shore Shared Public Health (NSSPH)
Practice Safe Skin
Safe Skin at Work
No Sun for Babies
North Shore Shared Public Health (NSSPH) is a collaborative comprised of eight communities in Massachusetts. Given Massachusetts has a higher diagnoses of skin cancer than the national average, the leaders of the organization including the regional coordinator, epidemiologist, public health nurse and public health inspector sought to develop a program across these communities. The collaborative partnered with IMPACT Melanoma to spearhead a 2-year public skin cancer awareness campaign, the Sun Safety initiative, to achieve the following:
- Reduce the risk of skin cancer in these communities
- Address areas of social and health inequities
- Provide prevention education on the importance of UV protection
- Provide free sunscreen to those enjoying outdoor spaces, including those who cannot afford it.
Partnering with IMPACT Melanoma to make an IMPACT
The collaborative leveraged a Public Health Excellence Grant to work with IMPACT Melanoma to plan, customize and coordinate the launch of the Sun Safety initiative across the eight member communities to reach children, outdoor workers, adults, and parents and caregivers of newborns.
Leaders at North Shore Shared Public Health and the Department of Public Works, and Parks and Recreation in the communities worked with the IMPACT Melanoma staff to develop and implement the Sun Safety initiative which included the following elements:
Practice Safe Skin Program
- The anchor of the program was installing 105 sunscreen dispensers throughout the communities to offer free sunscreen.
- 270,000+ applications of sunscreen
- Program management included working with the Department of Public Works and Parks and Recreation to finalize site selection of the dispensers.
- Program management included maintaining, cleaning, and refilling the sunscreen dispensers.
- Prevention education efforts reached campers at community recreation camps including 2,050 Sun Safety Camp Kits distributed that included protective lip balm, UV bracelets, activity pages and UV beads.
Safe Skin at Work
- Outdoor workers in these communities were trained by dermatologists from Peabody’s Dermatology & Skin Health to reduce their risk of skin cancer including regular use of sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.
- Prevention education included the power of shade to reduce UV exposure and to help our bodies cool safely.
- Portable shade was incorporated into the Sun Safety initiative in year two to offer portable shade in public areas in the communities.
- Additionally, 6,000 UPF protective clothing items were distributed to adults and children at community events.
No Sun for Babies
- In year two of the Sun Safety initiative, the No Sun for Babies Program was incorporated to reach new parents; two hundred No Sun for Babies bags were distributed; each bag included a Coolibar UPF protective blanket and informational brochure to raise awareness of sun safety, starting with sensitive infant skin.
“I’m grateful to IMPACT Melanoma, our region’s public health leaders, melanoma activist Christopher Fay, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for making this partnership possible,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “The Collaboration plan includes measures to help reduce the likelihood of melanoma and skin cancers through equity-focused actions that will help protect our most vulnerable from sun hazards.”
Salem Health Agent David Greenbaum, who had his own recent skin cancer scare, said the new program goes well beyond previous sun-safety education efforts in the region: “This is definitely more proactive – now we’re offering free sunscreen dispensers and placing them in specific locations not just for residents and beachgoers, but also for people who work out in the sun all day long.”
“Lynn is very fortunate to be part of this IMPACT Melanoma project,” Lynn Public Health Director Michele Desmarais said. “Sun protection can be costly, and many Lynn residents might not be able to afford it. So, making it available at our parks, splash pads, and recreation fields is an important benefit.”