American Academy of Dermatology Donates Shade Structure to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Friday, May 8, 2015
The American Trail Amphitheatre at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo now has built-in sun protection, thanks to a shade structure donation from the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy). The shade structure, which shades the 250-person seating area at the seal and sea lion exhibit, will protect children and their families each day from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
“The Academy is pleased to donate this shade structure to help protect the public’s health,” said board-certified dermatologist Mark Lebwohl, MD, FAAD, president of the Academy. “Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. This structure will shade zoo visitors from the sun and help educate families about the importance of sun protection.”
Since its inception in 2000, the Academy’s Shade Structure Grant Program has funded more than 325 shade structure grants, which provide shade for more than half a million individuals each day in parks, playgrounds and other outdoor areas.
“The Academy’s donation provides our visitors an even ‘cooler’ experience, literally, as they learn about our seals and sea lions and the biodiversity of North America during our educational demonstrations,” said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. “Protective shade is equally important for our guests as it is for the animals.”
The Academy’s Shade Structure Grant Program is financially supported by the Academy and its members’ contributions. Board-certified dermatologist and Academy secretary-treasurer Suzanne Olbricht, MD, FAAD, played an instrumental role in the Academy’s donation to the National Zoo by organizing a fundraiser for the donation.
“Bringing this shade structure to life was incredibly rewarding,” said Dr. Olbricht, chair of dermatology at a hospital and clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts and associate professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School. “It’s a wonderful example of how dedicated individuals and organizations can work together to protect families from the sun and teach healthy sun habits.”
Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Melanoma is now the most common form of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old, and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15 to 29 years old. To reduce people’s risk of developing skin cancer, the Academy recommends that everyone seek shade, wear protective clothing and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
The Academy’s Shade Structure Grant Program is part of the Academy’s SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign to create a world without skin cancer through public awareness, community outreach programs and services, and advocacy that promote the prevention, detection and care of skin cancer.
Visit the SPOT Skin Cancer™ website – www.SpotSkinCancer.org – to learn how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes on your skin, and find free SPOTme™ skin cancer screenings in your area. You can also download free materials to educate others in your community, and those affected by skin cancer can share their story on the website.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 18,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).