Based on years of MD Anderson research, the Ray and the Sunbeatables™ sun safety curriculum debuted in a pilot rollout this summer. While the sun-savvy five help teachers deliver sun protection messages through songs, games and lessons for the under-5 set, the program also connects with parents to reinforce sun safety at home.
"Research shows that excessive sun exposure during childhood increases the risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers later in life, so it's important to develop sun protection habits at a young age," says Mary Tripp, Ph.D., instructor of Behavioral Science and one of the program's developers.
Sunbeatables™ reaches more than 2,600 preschoolers across six states through a partnership of
MD Anderson and the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Global Foundation.
It's a project of the Melanoma Moon Shot, which focuses on prevention and developing better treatments. The team is working on a similar program for elementary school children and studying approaches for middle school and high school students.