Three medical students from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) in Reno—Anita Savell, Nicco Buffolino and Martin Azzam —took home Practical Dermatology® magazine’s award for Best Resident Paper of 2019 for a Resident Resource Center submission that surveyed snow sports participants’ attitudes and beliefs about sun safety. Their paper highlighted some key gaps in knowledge and practice by age group and also identified areas for prevention and intervention.

What They Looked At

A total of 64.7 percent of snow sports participants reported at least one sunburn in the last year, nearly double the 2010 adult average of 37.5 percent reported by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. This data suggests snow sports participants are an important target group for sun safety education.

Specifically, 18-30-year-old individuals may benefit from education on the consequences of long-term sun exposure, 31-50-year-old individuals may benefit from education on the basics of sun safety, and 51-70-year-old individuals may benefit from learning how to perform a self-skin examination and when to contact a health care provider for further examination.

“This issue is so important to study because it involves multiple demographics of the population at risk for a significant amount of sun exposure that might notably increase their risk of skin cancer in an environment that is not often associated with skin disease,” Mr. Azzam tells Practical Dermatology®. “Remarkable effort has gone toward increasing sun safety awareness in the environments we often associate with skin cancer, for instance tanning beds and beaches during summer months, but winter months also pose a risk to the population that is often overlooked. “

The report, “is the first step toward enacting some meaningful intervention that could ultimately play a greater role than most people think in decreasing the alarming rate of skin cancer popping up among the US populace.”

While no official follow-up studies have been conducted, the Nevada Cancer Coalition and interested medical students from UNR Med do often pair up for public health outreach projects at many local community events. Free resources and information about sun safety awareness (on the slopes during winter and throughout activities in the area during other seasons) are readily available at these events to anyone interested. Moreover, some ski resorts do have available sunscreen for interested skiers on the slopes. “These changes are encouraging even though they are not a direct result of our paper, but rather the cumulative effort of the Nevada Cancer Coalition and its volunteers’ tireless outreach work to raise sun safety awareness,” Mr. Azzam says.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The first-ever winners of Practical Dermatology® magazine’s Best Paper Award were Fort Smith, AR-based dermatologist Sandra Marchese Johnson MD, FAAD and Yoseph Dalia, BS for a Resident Resource Center submission that detailed the first reported case of facial rash following dupilumab therapy for atopic dermatitis.

As a result of their paper, facial dermatitis while taking dupilumab is now fairly well documented. In fact, nearly a quarter of patients developed new regional dermatoses appearing mostly on the face in cohort of adults with atopic dermatitis who were taking dupilumab. Researchers suggest that facial dermatitis represents an unrecognized [allergic contact dermatitis] for which the diagnostic utility of patch testing has been recently highlighted. These findings appeared in a research letter in the May 2019 issue of JAMA Dermatology.

Today, Dr. Dalia is halfway through her intern year and just matched into the Dermatology program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. She will begin her dermatology residency next year. “It is a great program with a diverse patient population,” she tells Practical Dermatology®. “I am interested in researching health care disparities within dermatology, and medicine in general. I am sure UT will provide me a great opportunities to help address these disparities.”