How It Started
The Melanoma Foundation of New England, working with Elizabeth Bailey, MD/MPH candidate at Baylor University, and Alan Geller, RN, MPH, Harvard School of Public Health and MFNE Medical Board Advisory Chair, decided to create The Skinny On Skin training program to mobilize health care professionals in the fight against melanoma. Their work is a direct result of a study that researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently conducted of 203 Houston hair professionals. The findings showed that only 28% of surveyed hair professionals had received formal skin cancer education. 37% looked at more than 50% of their customer’s scalps, 28% looked at more than 50% of their customers’ necks and 15% looked at more than 50% of their customers’ faces for suspicious lesions. These findings suggest that hair professionals are looking for suspicious lesions on customers’ scalp, neck, and face and are acting as lay skin cancer educators. Additionally, these results provide evidence that hair professionals would be receptive to skin cancer education and that further investigation into the role of hair professionals in skin cancer prevention and detection campaigns is needed.