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Sun Safety Awareness Reaches New Heights at Plano Hot Air Balloon Festival

Largest-ever team of local Women's Dermatologic Society volunteers break national campaign record for free skin cancer screenings at busy outreach

PLANO, Texas, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- High temperatures and intense sunshine brought droves of Texan families enjoying the Plano Hot Air Balloon Festival to the Women's Dermatologic Society (WDS) booth, where local volunteer dermatologists conducted a record number of free skin cancer screenings for this 13th stop of an award-winning, 15-city national campaign, known as Families Play Safe in the Sun.



Sarah Weitzul, MD, WDS member and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, hosted this successful local outreach, rounding up 35 volunteers to conduct free skin cancer screenings, distribute free sunscreen to eager, sun-drenched crowds, and provide family sun safety educational materials.

This family-oriented educational campaign, now in its third year of outreach, is made possible by a generous grant from the 3M Foundation. Highlights from the Plano event include the following results:

-- 454 people received free skin cancer screenings by board-certified

Texas dermatologists, resulting in a 22% referral rate for further


-- 28,500 samples of broad-spectrum sunscreen samples were distributed to

Festival visitors.

-- 20 parents and teachers signed up for the Adopt-a-School program,

providing the Environmental Protection Agency's Sun Wise Kit to their

designated schools.

-- 35 volunteers reached out to several thousands of Festival visitors

during three days, offering a cumulative 160 hours of community


-- Plano Mayor Pat Evans issued a proclamation to WDS commemorating

"Families Play Safe in the Sun" Days in recognition of the local

volunteer outreach promoting sun safety to citizens.

The following Texas board-certified dermatologists and WDS members generously contributed their time and efforts to the local Families Play Safe in the Sun campaign: Jennifer Aranda, MD; Angela Bowers, MD; Robin Carder, MD; Rebecca Euwer, MD; Greg Fulchiero, MD; Lisa Garner, MD; Fiona Larsen, MD; Susanne Lockhart, MD; Angela Moore, MD, Susana Poliak, MD; Tim Rodgers, MD; Sarah Weitzul, MD; Erin Welch, MD; Kim Yancey, MD, and Priya Zeikus, MD. WDS President Mary Lupo, MD (New Orleans, LA) also participated in the outreach. WDS member-resident and medical student volunteer support was provided by: Rachel Cayce; Joanna Chan, MD; Amy Curtis, MD; Alissa Genthon; Cindy Harrington, MD; Flora Kim, Noori Kim; Adean Kingston, MD; Shadi Kourosh; Shelley Redfern; Melissa Rubenstein, MD; Amy Zhou, and Weilan Zho. Corporate volunteers included Gene Colon (L'Oreal) and Stefani Briesch, Ken Curley, Kevin Fitzgerald and Mary Madden (all from Galderma). Katy Garner, Peter Graham, and Jason Rowley also provided hands-on help to the dermatologists.

The mission of "Families Play Safe in the Sun" is to "encourage, educate and empower family members to incorporate sun safety practices as part of a daily, year-round commitment", according to Suzanne Connolly, MD, WDS Vice President and Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Mayo Clinic (Arizona), who has led the national campaign since its launch in 2005. To date, the WDS community outreach service has directly reached approximately 1,700,000 families at large-scale outdoor community events across the nation. In 2006, the WDS campaign earned the prestigious "Gold Triangle" award from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

In addition to generous funding from the 3M Foundation, product donations were furnished by Banana Boat, Cabana Life, Coolibar, Del-Ray Dermatologicals, Johnson& Johnson, Ortho Neutrogena, Procter & Gamble, Skyrad and Starberry, Ltd.

For further information, please visit: or

The Women's Dermatologic Society supports the careers and professional development of women dermatologists. The mission of the Women's Dermatologic Society is to help women in dermatology achieve their greatest personal and professional potential by striving to: foster, promote, and support women's issues in dermatology; identify, train, and recognize women leaders in dermatology; and provide a forum for developing relationships.

SOURCE Women's Dermatologic Society
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