Sunburns are known to have a cumulative effect and can lead to future skin cancers—including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. To help make it safer to have fun outdoors, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is offering shade structure grants for schools, park districts, religious institutions, and other nonprofit organizations that need shade for outdoor locations.

“Dermatologists are seeing younger and younger people with skin cancer, making it more important than ever to protect young people from the dangerous rays of the sun,” says Stephen P. Stone, MD, president of the AAD.

The academy has partnered with Johnson & Johnson to increase the number of shade structure grants that will be awarded. This year, 40 shade structures will be installed across the country.

Shade structures can be installed in any outdoor area where children and adults gather and are exposed to the harmful rays of the sun, such as playgrounds, pools, bleachers, and eating areas, and recreation areas. To be considered, organizations must complete an application that demonstrates a commitment to sun safety and is accompanied by a letter of support from an AAD member.

Applications are available from the academy’s Web site, www.aad.org.  The deadline for applications is Friday, June 16. The winners will be announced in early September.

[www.aad.org, May 1, 2006]