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Press Release

January 3, 2022

Kathleen Reichert
American Skin Association


January 3, 2022, New York, NY – American Skin Association (ASA) announced the renewal of its support for the SPOTS (Sun Protection Outreach Teaching by Students) program. SPOTS is a public health outreach educational program aimed at both elementary school students and young teenagers.

The comprehensive program, taught by medical school students, teaches early detection and prevention measures for skin cancer in an effort to increase knowledge and hopefully affect young people’s attitudes and behaviors towards sun protection. SPOTS, run by a stellar team including Dr. Sofia Chaudhry of St. Louis University and Drs. Laurin Council and Lynn Cornelius of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, aims to educate medical/allied health students in sun protection methods, teaching strategies, and the basics of cutaneous malignancies in order to better prepare them for educating and treating current and future patients.

"ASA is proud of the work the SPOTS program is doing to educate future generations on skin health. This worthwhile partnership is part of our mission to educate young people on the importance of sun safety and caring for their skin and we are excited to continue our support," said ASA Chairman Howard Milstein. With ASA's support, the SPOTS program expanded its teaching platforms by developing a virtual curriculum to allow these critical efforts to continue during the global pandemic. This new platform has in turn allowed the program to move into new communities, growing its reach.

It is available through both a live Zoom virtual experience and a self-guided voice-over version which can be utilized in a school setting or at home reaching many more children and teens.

The program has also achieved many other goals in the last year including completing the development of a "take-home"”" curriculum with a SPOTS educational pamphlet including a Skin of Color teaching points, a Spanish language version, and a Skin Cancer in Skin of Color module.

Recent program outreach includes the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties in Florida where 1000 educational brochures and t-shirts and 100 SPOTS posters were sent for their students. SPOTS has also expanded to more diverse, urban school settings populated by more students of color, such as urban neighborhood schools near Columbia Medical School in New York and many others. The program is currently partnering with dozens of university medical school programs around the nation.

Members of the SPOTS leadership team recently published their findings in an article titled, "Program Sun Protection Outreach Teaching by Students (SPOTS) — Evaluating the Efficacy of Skin Cancer Prevention Education for Adolescents" in the Journal of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Also, in the Spring of 2021 SPOTS animated video on sun protection received the bronze award in the Digital Health Media category of the Digital Health Award.

"We are grateful to ASA and its Education Council for their continued support of SPOTS. We look forward continued growth of this critical program," said Dr. Cornelius. The SPOTS program is designed to present the facts about skin cancer and sun protection to teenagers in an interesting and engaging way, allowing them to make informed choices regarding future behaviors. The program has the potential to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the future, increase awareness about the importance of sun protection, and educate the next generation of physicians in a subject that is often not a required clinical block in U.S. medical school curricula.

Over the past 25 years, there has been a notable increase in the incidence of melanoma in children, particularly in adolescents. ASA’s mission includes championing skin health among children by educating youth and parents on the importance of skin health and sun safety. "We are excited to continue our partnership with Dr. Cornelius and the SPOTS program and look forward to the program's continued growth," said ASA President, Dr. David Norris.


A unique collaboration of patients, families, advocates, physicians and scientists, ASA has evolved over three decades as a leading force in efforts to defeat melanoma, skin cancer and other skin diseases. Established to serve the now more than 100 million Americans – one-third of the U.S. population – afflicted with skin disorders, the organization’s mission remains to: advance research, champion skin health particularly among children, and drive public awareness about skin disease. For more information, visit


SPOTS (Sun Protection Outreach Teaching by Students) is a community outreach program designed to teach students from preschool through high school about the importance of early detection and prevention of skin cancer. Medical students visit local schools to instruct students about sun safe habits, avoiding artificial tanning beds, and skin self-exams.

SPOTS started as a collaboration between Saint Louis University and Washington University Medical Schools in Saint Louis, Missouri, but has expanded to programs across the country, and with your help, will continue to do so. Download teaching materials to start your own SPOTS chapter today. For more information, visit