Sun & safety: AAD efforts follow SCRIPT

Jun 01, 2008, 4:00am

The American Academy of Dermatology's sun safety programs for 2008 include long-standing efforts, such as the organization's Shade Structure grant program and public service campaigns, along with new elements including an emphasis on skin self-evaluation, says C. William Hanke, M.D., M.P.H., AAD president.

Key Points

Schaumburg, Ill. - The American Academy of Dermatology's sun safety programs for 2008 include long-standing efforts, such as the organization's Shade Structure grant program and public service campaigns, along with new elements including an emphasis on skin self-evaluation, says C. William Hanke, M.D., M.P.H., AAD president.

A case in point is the AAD's Skin Cancer Reduction: Intervention Plan for Tomorrow (SCRIPT) program, a long-term public health initiative launched in 2006 to lead the charge in reducing mortality and the incidence of skin cancer over the next one to three decades, Dr. Hanke says.

The program serves as an umbrella for initiatives, including the AAD's National Skin Cancer Screening Program, which urges dermatologists to conduct free skin cancer screenings in their communities.

Annually, about 2,100 member dermatologists participate in the National Skin Cancer Screening Program, reports James M. Spencer, M.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and a St. Petersburg, Fla., dermatologist in private practice.

In 2006, the AAD set a Guinness world record for conducting the most skin cancer screenings in one day.

More specifically, Dr. Spencer says, "More than 450 academy members in 123 locations performed skin cancer screenings on 10,359 people. This was an extremely effective way to educate the public about the importance of skin cancer screenings."

Additionally, the AAD redesigned its Web site so that visitors can more easily access information about this program and others.

National exposure

The academy also launched a national advertising campaign in 2007.

Along with supporting the AAD's skin cancer screening program, this campaign seeks to position dermatologists as the experts in treating and caring for the skin.

Accordingly, three of the six ads in this campaign mention skin cancer as a condition for which one should see a dermatologist, Dr. Hanke tells Dermatology Times.

The ads - featuring actress Jennifer Garner - ran in May 2008 issues of magazines including SELF, Real Simple, US Weekly and others.

"The target audience for the specialty positioning initiative is women, because they are the primary healthcare decision-makers," Dr. Spencer says.

Other elements of the SCRIPT program include public education materials; namely, pamphlets, bookmarks, posters, fact sheets and Web sites.