- Identify middle and high schools in your community.
- Reach out to community school principals or superintendents and share an informational brochure, promotional video, entire curriculum, and success thus far.
- Regarding timing of sessions, many schools prefer to incorporate SPOTS into health classes during winter months, but some may prefer teaching within other courses, such as science classes.
SPOTS is a free educational, interactive, and comprehensive yet concise 1 hour presentation focusing on the prevention of skin cancer.
1 in 5 Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime, and early intervention is key. This is why the SPOTS program focuses on adolescence, a high-risk time.
The SPOTS program focuses on making the importance of sun protection resonate with teenagers. Understanding that adolescents are highly motivated by their physical appearance, SPOTS uses both health-based and appearance-based motivators to encourage teens to use sun protection and avoid tanning bed. Since teens are more influenced by peers, the program incorporates a video of two teenagers describing their personal journey with melanoma and uses young medical students as SPOTS instructors. Medical students are young enough to be relatable but have the credibility to be impactful.
- Ideally, this is a dermatology physician with a special interest in teaching, skin cancer education, and public outreach (a non-dermatology faculty can also be considered).
- Main duties:
- Oversees the entire program – Students should ideally run the program, but the faculty advisor will guide them, help coordinate their efforts, and make sure they’re doing their jobs to ensure everything goes smoothly.
- Identifies community schools in which to teach SPOTS sessions
- Oversees instructor training sessions
- Can consider creating a SPOTS elective for academic credit for medical students. This has been successfully done for 1st, 2nd, and 4th year medical students.
- Can consider applying for funding through medical school student organization budgets or grants
- Ideal medical student leaders are responsible, motivated students with an interest in community outreach and leadership opportunities.
- 2nd year medical students are ideal for this role.
SPOTS project lead
- This is a medical student who oversees all aspects of the program with guidance from the faculty advisor. This student is responsible for all communication with SPOTS faculty, student leaders, student instructors, and community school partners.
- Along with the faculty advisor, identifies community schools in which to teach SPOTS sessions
- Leads recruitment and training activities
- Oversees the scheduling coordinators (described below) and helps with creating “black-out” dates and master schedule with community schools for SPOTS sessions
- Creates budget proposal for student organization funding
- Helps faculty advisor oversee any students taking SPOTS for academic credit
- Creates master teaching schedule (see instructions below)
- Schedules SPOTS sessions (see instructions below)
- Ongoing coordination:
- Coordinates the number of SAMs (skin analyzer machines) and equipment in use for each teaching session (see equipment list below)
- Sends reminder emails to student instructors 2 weeks prior to their teaching dates
- Monitors master teaching schedule closely to ensure all sessions are filled and to ensure instructors find a replacement if they need to drop a class
- Works with SPOTS project lead to find instructors for any unfilled teaching slots
- Recommended equipment is listed in a box below
- Regularly checks all SAMs (skin analyzer machines) for working light bulbs and electrical cords.
- Every 2-4 weeks, checks that equipment is stocked and available for each teaching session
- Keeps an inventory of equipment, such as T-shirts, for count and sizes
- Creates and monitors an equipment sign-in/sign-out sheet
- Coordinates equipment pick-up/drop off with SPOTS instructors
If the budget allows, equipment is optional, but recommended.
Skin Analyzer Machine (SAM)
- The SAM uses long wave UVA light to highlight photo damage to the skin. This is a popular portion of the SPOTS training.
- Can be bought for around $200 if budget allows
A SPOTS toolkit box
- This contains sun protective items, such as: different types of sunscreens, broad brimmed hats vs. baseball caps, sun protective shirts, umbrellas, Sun Guard laundry treatment, sunglasses, and educational handouts
- SPOTS T-shirts can be bought in bulk for instructors to wear, which presents a professional, unified appearance
- To create a design, download the SPOTS logo and consider adding your school or other relevant logos or text
Food and snacks
- Consider budgeting for food during SPOTS sessions
Faculty advisor can consider applying for equipment funding through medical school student organization budgets or grants.
3) Medical student instructors
- 1st, 2nd and 4th year students have successfully taught sessions.
- Great volunteer opportunity for 1st and 2nd year medical students
- Ideally, volunteer student instructors commit to at least 2 SPOTS sessions.
- Elective credit students – design of elective tailored to individual school. For example, 1 week of elective credit could be given for teaching 4 sessions.
- Screen for an interest in dermatology, such as through a dermatology interest group. However, it’s not necessary to have an interest in becoming a dermatologist to be a great instructor. Consider preventative medicine students as well as other allied health professions, such as nursing and masters of public health students.
- Organize recruitment activities:
- Set up a SPOTS booth at student organization activity fairs early in the year.
- Appeal to student interest groups, such as a dermatology interest group.
- Hold recruitment lunches.
- Send mass class emails and post on social media with a link to the SPOTS promotional video.
- Ask to give brief announcements before class lectures and emphasize the direct benefits of teaching SPOTS:
- The rewarding nature of being actively involved in community outreach
- Gaining experience engaging with youth and making a positive impact on their well being
- Gaining experience participating in a public health campaign
- Enhancing public speaking skills
- Increasing confidence in skin cancer prevention counseling and recognition of malignant lesions
- Create and maintain a contact list of interested SPOTS medical student instructors who attend recruitment sessions, including names and emails.
- Planning duties (consider these details when planning trainings)
- The best dates and times for students and trainers
- Lunch sessions vs. evening sessions
- Reserving a space to accommodate the size of the group
- Order enough water, snacks, or food
- Consider supplemental lectures by faculty advisor or other expert on topics such as tips on teaching teens, skill-building to make SPOTS more meaningful to teens, more in-depth dermatology knowledge training, etc.
- Hold trainings
- Reserve a minimum of 2 hours, but trainings can be divided into 2 separate hour-long sessions.
- Walk through the entire PowerPoint curriculum, showing instructors to use the text on the slides as well as index cards with the speaking notes.
- Demonstrate the SAM (skin analyzer machines) and all of the equipment (see equipment list).
- Update the contact list of SPOTS medical student instructors who attend training sessions, including names and emails.
- Create master teaching schedule
- Review academic calendar to create a list of “black-out” dates that medical students will likely not be available for teaching (such as exam dates, day before exams, holidays, mandatory lectures/labs, etc.). Consider working with Curricular Affairs administration and course directors.
- Get contact list of student instructors and community schools from SPOTS project lead and faculty advisor.
- Based on number of interested medical students, calculate the approximate number of sessions that can be taught (ideally 2 medical students jointly teach a single session).
- Schedule SPOTS sessions.
- Share the list of black-out dates with the community schools. The schools then respond with the dates they want instructors to teach on (excluding the black-out dates).
- Create a master teaching schedule – an excel spreadsheet [S1] with all available teaching dates.
- Open this schedule up to the student instructors to sign up.
- Update and maintain the master teaching schedule to include instructor names, schools, times, locations, etc. (This can also be shared with the schools so they know who is coming.)
Determine blackout dates for trainings based on your academic calendar.Mid-August
Meet with community school administrators to determine tentative teaching schedule.Late August – Early September
Recruit student instructors.September – October
Train student instructors.October
Open up master teaching schedule for instructors to sign up. Recommend that elective students sign up first, then students not receiving elective credit.November – December
SPOTS sessions may take place at this time if a middle or high school requests it. This allows the medical students to start teaching right away and keeps interest strong.January – March
Majority of SPOTS sessions likely will take place during this time.April – May
Recap meeting between faculty advisor and student leaders to discuss how the year went and any future changes.