SEAHEC FHL students from Bisbee, Douglas and Nogales high schools are participating in cutting-edge health research and community education with the University of Arizona’s Skin Cancer Institute this year. This project is funded by the Arizona AHEC program office and is called Students are Sun Safe (SASS.) The project will expose students to concepts of scientific inquiry and provide training in sun safety as well as opportunities to organize and implement a large scale community health education campaign. SASS trained students will be involved in evaluating the impact of the peer-led sun safety program on rural adolescents in Arizona.
Project SASS has been tested in urban communities at the college level but rural teens have not yet weighed in. SEAHEC has partnered with the University of Arizona’s Skin Cancer Institute to train six students from each high school as peer leaders. SEAHEC is working with administrators and teachers to allow the FHL students to reach an estimated 250 classmates. Students are providing a 50-minute Project SASS presentation with follow-up learning activities. A goal of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of both the student training and the peer-led community education activities. The evaluation process is intended to document sun safety knowledge, attitudes, and intended sun safety behaviors, before and after the presentation. There will be a final evaluation three months after initial engagement to measure the long term effectiveness of the education strategies employed. The students will be involved in the project throughout the 2017 school year, providing their classmates with inspiration and insight into career choices for health professionals interested in cancer prevention and research, community health education, and leadership.