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Podcast: Researchers Devise Creative Ways to Share Sun Safety During COVID-19

With the Sun Bus mostly idled, Neil Box’s team rolls out new strategies for summer 2020

Author Chris Casey | Publish Date June 10, 2020

Just as the Colorado Melanoma Foundation (CMF) was tuning up its Sun Bus for a second summer of large-event visits across Colorado, the coronavirus pandemic brought life to a standstill.

“With the pandemic, we sat back on our heels and thought, ‘How are we going to reinvent ourselves in this new world?’” said Neil Box, PhD, associate professor of dermatology in the CU School of Medicine and assistant professor of epidemiology in the Colorado School of Public Health.


The Colorado Melanoma Foundation's Sun Bus received over 26,000 visitors as it traveled across the state last summer.

Last summer, he said, the vehicle received over 26,000 visitors, provided free skin screening to 850 and referred 96 people with lesions to specialty care. Six of those visitors were subsequently diagnosed with melanoma.

Summer 2020 is another matter, however, and the Sun Bus is, for now, mostly parked.

But the CMF, of which Box is president and co-founder, refuses to sit idle. The organization is rolling out yet more creative ways to deliver sun safety messages across Colorado, where the rate of skin cancer diagnosis exceeds the national average.

Below, listen to the CU Anschutz 360 podcast to learn how Box and the CMF are reinventing community education about sun smart behaviors as well as continuing research into the genetic factors that make some people more susceptible to skin cancer. Also, find out why – despite people spending more time at home amid the pandemic – Box believes it’s likely they are actually getting more sun exposure than before.


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