2023 Award Essays

Ninett's Scholarship Submission

Ninett’s scholarship essay

Skin cancer is not idiopathic. It is not a mystery nor inevitable, but almost 100% preventable with the right education and resources. The Richard David Kann (RDK) Melanoma Foundation, focuses on educating students between the grade levels of K-12 on sun safe measures and early detection of skin cancer. Deborah Kann Schwarzberg, the President and Founder of this Foundation, was devastated when her brother passed from undetected melanoma at the age of 45. During her period of mourning, she was able to establish this Foundation; she was joined by, family, and friends, and members of their community to honor his life and promote the goal of skin cancer prevention.

The Foundation provides support to schools across our nation via their SunSmart AmericaTM School Program, which provides schools with the resources to implement a curriculum on skin protection. Teaching the youth creates a remedy of generational mistakes rooted from the past. Furthermore, their RAY TM Project donates push pedal sunscreen dispensers in areas with high UV indexes (parks, beaches, schools, and outdoor areas). The RDK Foundation provides education about sun safety and couples that with necessary resources that the Florida community needs to implement their teachings. Their work is making strides so individuals can ready for action on the invisible plague of skin cancer.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jenique Crawley, Director of operations at RDK foundation, who facilitates bi-monthly county health and wellness fairs and an annual symposium along with the Executive Director Zackary Barrett. Jenique confirms that if the RDK foundation were to be awarded, they would use the donation to directly give back to students, through collaboration with student organizations, more sunscreen dispensers and refills, and marketing for sponsorships to continue their mission “to educate children throughout the country and give them the skills necessary to make healthy sun safety choices throughout their lives.”

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2021 Scholarship Winners

Eleanor’s Scholarship Submission

St. Petersburg Free Clinic (SPFC) increases access to healthcare to underserved populations and allows uninsured individuals to receive specialty care services, including dermatology. Before starting physician assistant school, I had the privilege of volunteering at SPFC as a medical assistant alongside the dermatologist I previously worked for. Patients scheduled with dermatology at SPFC are evaluated for a variety of issues, though most patients are treated for skin cancers, many of which are advanced due to being uninsured and unable to seek treatment until discovering SPFC. According to the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg was ranked one of the worst cities in the nation in terms of skin health. In fact, the city had one of the top skin-cancer death rates in the nation: 7.25 deaths for every 100,000 people.1 To say SPFC has an impact and supports the community is an understatement – this organization saves lives. Once a patient is diagnosed with skin cancer, employees of SPFC arrange an appointment with dermatology to treat the skin cancer and take preventative measures by scheduling subsequent skin screenings. Patients are educated on the importance of skin screenings, emphasizing the potential dangers of the sun. Through SPFC, patients are supplied with samples of medications and sunscreen, which they are otherwise unable to afford. SPFC educates and supports their patients by providing vital dermatological care, but also advocates for a population that is often overlooked. SPFC survives on volunteers and generous donations. The number of underserved individuals in St. Petersburg requiring dermatological care is endless. Properly treating skin conditions requires expensive tools and equipment which SPFC is constantly in need of. With this donation, SPFC could acquire updated surgical instruments and additional dermatological necessities, making procedures more efficient, allowing more time for the provider to see patients. As I have experienced first-hand the impact SPFC has on the community, I could not image a more deserving charitable organization or role model for the dermatological community.


McGrory K. Ranking rates St. Petersburg among the worst cities for skin cancer risk.

Tampa Bay Times. May 24, 2016. Accessed March 12, 2023.



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2021 Scholarship Winners

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