About Sun Safety for Kids

Confronted with the relentless rise in the number of new skin cancer cases, a group of dermatologists from The Los Angeles Metropolitan Dermatological Society met in 2001 to seek a remedy.


  • the vast majority of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to the sun, and
  • sun damage is cumulative throughout a person’s lifetime

the doctors agreed that preventing skin cancer would entail the promotion of a sun-safe lifestyle, beginning in childhood.  Their prescription: Sun Safety for Kids.

Schools were identified as potential partners due to their concern for educating children about health issues, and their duty to protect children from harm while at school.  Based on scientific evidence and the results of a search & evaluation of available resources, the dermatologists put together the SSK “Comprehensive Guide to Sun Safety for Schools” that included information, policy recommendations, and resources.  Numerous dermatologists from the society met with school and school district administrators to present the Guide and advocate the adoption of a sun safety school policy.

In 2003 Sun Safety for Kids was incorporated in California as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  Each member of the SSK Board of Directors is a board-certified dermatologist, elected by The Los Angeles Metropolitan Dermatological Society to serve on the SSK board.


Sun Safety for Kids is currently participating in a five-year school policy development program funded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.  Additional participants include the University of Southern California, the University of Minnesota, and Klein-Buendel, Inc., a Colorado-based health communication firm.
Video Production
In the search for sun safety instructional materials suitable for schools, one item not available was an educational video for use in elementary level classrooms.  To fill this void, Sun Safety for Kids embarked on the production of what would become “The Sun Show.”
SSK’s initial printed version of the “Comprehensive Guide to Sun Safety for Schools” (no longer available) has been greatly expanded and is frequently updated for online availability at www.SunSafetyForKids.org
Policy Promotion
Several southern California school districts, including LA Unified School District (second-largest in the nation) have invited SSK to present sun safety recommendations to committees of the Board of Education and conferences of school nurses.  SSK is actively promoting sun safety to 30 public school districts through the research project referenced above.  Outreach to independent and parochial schools is anticipated to begin soon.
SSK is a member of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and has benefited from a close relationship with the Skin Cancer Prevention Program at the California Dept. of Health Services.  SSK partnered with the California School Boards Association to develop the CSBA Sample School Board Policy for Sun Safety and also helped draft the American School Health Association's ASHA sun safety resolution.
SSK President, Dr. Jeff Ashley, testified at the California State Senate in favor of allowing children to use sunscreen at school, and to provide sun-protective clothing and hats for state employees who work outdoors.

Directors and Officers of Sun Safety for Kids

Each director is a board certified dermatologist, as well as a member of The Los Angeles Metropolitan Dermatological Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • Jeff Ashley, M.D., President
    Clinical Professor, Dermatology, Univ. of Southern California (USC)
  • Richard Bennett, M.D., Treasurer
    Clinical Professor, Dermatology, Univ. of Calif. at Los Angeles (UCLA)
    and Clinical Professor, Dermatology, USC
  • Joyce N. Fox, M.D., Secretary
    Clinical Professor, Dermatology, USC
  • David Peng, M.D.
    Asst. Professor, Dermatology, USC
  • Heather Roberts, M.D.
    Assoc. Clinical Professor, Dermatology, USC
  • Karen Sherwood, M.D.
    Clinical Professor, Dermatology, USC
  • Lisa Shim, M.D.
    Assoc. Clinical Professor, Dermatology, USC
  • Stefani Takahashi, M.D.
    Asst. Clinical Professor, Dermatology, UCLA


SSK is very grateful to Queensland Health, Australia for providing, from their image library, the photos of sun-safe children seen at the top of each page on this site.

Web design by Ross Blocher.



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