About the Maryland Skin Cancer Prevention Program

SunGuard Man with two little girls.

The mission of the Maryland Skin Cancer Prevention Program (the Program) is to raise skin cancer awareness and provide skin cancer prevention education to the citizens of Maryland. Our goal is to promote behavior that is likely to prevent skin cancer and ultimately to make such behavior so familiar to the citizens of Maryland that it is established as a social norm.

The Program, established in 1997 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been funded since 2001 by a grant from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Program, housed at the Center for a Healthy Maryland, carries out many of its activities through a coalition of more than fifty dedicated individuals and representatives from diverse public and private organizations who have pledged their commitment to this very important public health issue.  The Maryland Skin Cancer Prevention Program is a member of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

Program Strategies

The Maryland Skin Cancer Prevention Program carries out objectives identified in the Maryland Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.
The Program educates the general public through the SunGuard Man Online website, appearances by the SunGuard Man mascot, the SunSafe Preschool Curriculum, and the SunGuard Your Skin elementary/middle school curriculum and annual Poster Contest. The Program also provides a skin cancer brochure and colorful poster, and exhibits at health fairs and conferences across the state.

The Program works with the medical community in several ways. The Program offers an online continuing medical education program for primary care physicians about recognizing skin cancers, encourages physicians to perform skin exams on all patients, and provides patient education materials. The Program encourages physicians to educate patients about skin cancer prevention and to teach them how to perform skin self-examination. The Program provides skin cancer prevention brochures from the American Cancer Society in a lucite display, and a colorful poster that can be displayed in the office or exam rooms. Another resource is the patient information booklet, “I Have Melanoma: Now What?” which was produced as a collaborative effort between the Center for a Healthy Maryland and Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology.  It is available for sale at amazon.com, with proceeds designated for skin cancer education and research.

The Program works to implement policy changes to increase the use of sun-safe behaviors, particularly among Maryland's youth. In 2006, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that allows students to use the sunscreen they bring to school by ensuring statewide compliance with the Maryland Sun Safety Guidelines. In 2008, the Program provided information to MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, and other key stakeholders in a successful effort to pass legislation that prohibits minors from using tanning beds without in-person parental consent. This law went into effect October 1, 2008. Read The Truth About Tanning Beds to learn more about the dangers of tanning bed use. Clikc here to view Poster!

Related Links

Click here for links to skin cancer prevention organizations, programs and products.

Contact Information

For more information on the Maryland Skin Cancer Prevention Program or to request educational materials, please contact:

Roberta M. Herbst, M.S.

Program Manager

Phone: 410-539-0872 or 800-492-1056, ext. 3340

Fax: 410-649-4131

e-mail: rherbst@medchi.org