High School Outreach Program

 A snapshot of one of the curriculum modules for the high school outreach program

Protecting our next generation from melanoma skin cancer

Our mission is to eliminate melanoma-related deaths. With an emphasis on early detection strategies, we've chosen high school educational outreach as a critical method to spread awareness of melanoma. With the help of this next generation of Oregonians, we can have the greatest impact and in turn save lives.  

To help reach our goal of educating students about sun safety and skin cancer detection and prevention, we have developed a 50 minute lesson plan for implementation into Oregon high schools. In light of challenges due to COVID-19, we're excited to also offer both an in-person, and an asynchronous online version of our lesson plan. You'll be able to select your lesson plan preference in the request form.

Melanoma Fast Facts:

  • Oregon ranks in the top 10 for both incidence and deaths from melanoma, for both men and women. (CDC)
  • Sun damage is cumulative; excessive sun exposure during childhood can contribute to skin cancer risk later in life. (Skin Cancer Foundation)
  • On age related cancers, melanoma is the #1 most diagnosed cancer among 25 to 29 year olds in the United States. For 15 to 29 year olds, it is the 3rd most common for men and 4th most common for women. (Melanoma Research Alliance)

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, and rates have continued to rise nationwide. Conversely, melanoma is a unique cancer in that personal behaviors can drastically reduce the chance of getting or dying from a melanoma. The greater we can increase awareness on melanoma prevention and early detection, the more lives we can save from this disease.

  • Educate Oregon high school students about melanoma early detection and prevention
  • Provide students with a basic understanding of how UV exposure can lead to skin cancers
  • Promote sun safety and healthy habits for UV exposure and educate students about melanoma risk factors
  • Provide students with a framework for checking their moles and facilitate creation of a personal action plan to protect their skin and watch for signs of skin cancer

Teachers (or volunteers - more information coming soon) will be provided with a full lesson plan script.

The lesson plan is designed to take 50 minutes from start to finish and incorporates informational slides, a testimony from a melanoma survivor, interactive learning, and action plan creation:

  • Pre- and post-test survey​​
    • Students who opt-in will take a brief survey to assess sun safety and melanoma knowledge and attitudes. This survey will be given immediately prior to lesson delivery and following completion of the lesson plan. Learn more about the function and importance of these surveys here
  • Picture sort:
    • Students will sort pictures of moles into two piles: either “normal” or “abnormal.” Sorting will occur twice- once at the beginning of the learning objective that addresses melanoma risk, and once after students learn the ABCDEs of melanoma detection.
Comparison of skin lesions next to each other
Image examples of two normal and one abnormal mole
  • Gallery walk 
    • The gallery walk will take place at the beginning of the lesson plan. Photos relating to UV exposure, sun safety, and melanoma risk will be posted around the room. Students will be asked to walk around silently and post their thoughts on sticky notes next to each picture. The class will then discuss each image together.
An image of people sunbathing next to a photo of someone indoor tanning
Gallery walk example images
  • Action plan
    • At the end of the lesson, students will create an action plan. These action plans are intended to be students’ personal goals for skin protection and melanoma detection. Click here to see a sample of the Action Plan Worksheet

Included with the lesson plan are anonymous before and after surveys for students. These surveys help us keep track of the impact of our lesson plan and allow us to continue to make improvements moving forward.

Students may opt out of survey participation if they so choose. Click here for more information (IRB#19372).

The War on Melanoma High School Outreach Program is an effort led by OHSU medical students in conjunction with the OHSU Department of Dermatology and Knight Cancer Institute's Melanoma Program.

A collage of portraits for all of the medical students working on the High School Curriculum Program

Program Leadership:
Gina Calco
Jonathan Sisley

Marketing Team: 
Amanda Wade

Data Management Team:
Nina Kostur
Stephen Aldous
Rishi Seshadri 

Curriculum Development Team:
Jade Young
Mai-Loan Nguyen
Hannah Zhao

Allied-PreHealth Volunteer Team:
Abby Shettig
Bailey Reynolds
Mani Woodward
Moira Shea
Anthony Gutierrez 

School Communications Team:
Ashley Reese
Eleanor McCreary
Candace Chan
Kara Cheung
Elena Paz Munoz

Native American Outreach:
Jacob Smith

Faculty and Resident Advisors
Elizabeth Berry, M.D.
Carter Haag, M.D.
Elizabeth Stoos, M.Ed.
Emile Latour, M.S.
Jodi Lapidus Ph.D.
Adrienne Zell Ph.D.

Graduated Members:
Victoria Orfaly
Erin Urbanowicz
Adam Roscher
Nicole Santucci
Claire Turina
Mary Ryan
Ashley Reese

Gresham High School

Ridgeview High School

Rex Putnam High School

Sprague High School

North Bend High School

Center for Advanced Learning

La Grande High School

Paisley Charter School

Pine Eagle Charter School

Sheldon High School

Lakeview High School

Cascade High School

Lincoln City Career Tech High School

Corvallis High School

Knappa High School

Sherwood High School

Springwater Trail

David Douglas

Heppner High School

Gresham High School

Cleveland High School

Silverton High School

Lakeridge High School

Crescent Valley High School

Redmond Proficiency Academy

Sam Barlow High School

Philomath High School

Columbia Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol -- not a school but an organization serving youth ages 12+

Warrenton High School