November 13, 2008

FSDDS Sponsors Sun Defense Essay Contest for Florida Elementary Schools

In order to promote and increase sun safety and awareness, the Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery (FSDDS) returns with its essay contest for elementary schools across Florida. The FSDDS Florida Sun Defense Essay Contest is designed to educate elementary school age children and their parents about the importance of sun safety.

"We developed this statewide educational campaign to heighten awareness in elementary school-aged children about the potential dangers of sun exposure. The time is now for children to start realizing that our sunny climate in Florida also increases our exposure to the sun, and this requires taking extra precautions," says St. Petersburg dermatologist Dr. James Spencer, current president of the Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery (FSDDS).

Going further, Cocoa Beach dermatologist Dr. Kristin Smallwood, chair of the FSDDS Public Relations Committee and the Director of the Sun Defense Essay Contest for the FSDDS, underscores the need for early intervention in fighting the potential for skin cancer. "It is especially important for young children to become accustomed to protecting themselves from exposure to the sun. While many people do not realize it, the sun exposure you get when you are younger can manifest itself many years later as skin cancer. It is important that we educate young children at an early age about this fact," Smallwood says.

The FSDDS is promoting this initiative for the second year in a row, having had great success with it last year. In addition to promoting sun safety and awareness, the essay contest fosters increased literacy for young learners, making the program a win for all who participate. There will be five winners selected, and their schools will receive sun shades for use in outdoor areas. The grand prize winner will be invited to present his or her essay at the FSDDS annual meeting.

For more information on the essay contest, visit Entry forms and a promotional poster are also available at the website.

The FSDDS ( is the professional association for dermatologists in Florida. The mission of the Florida Society of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery is to serve as an advocate for Florida dermatologists and their patients to promote excellence in dermatologic care for all Floridians.