Partners In Action: Integrating Shade Design In Public Places For Cancer Prevention

George KAPELOS, Ryerson University, Canada

1 Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
2 Totten Fellow, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, New York City Urban Field Station

Purpose: Social media is a key tool in promoting cancer prevention. The provision of shade is one of the key methods of preventing skin cancer, caused by environmental ultraviolet radiation. Public policy to support the creation of shade is one component of skin cancer prevention. The Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition Ultraviolet Radiation Working Group (TCPC – UVRWG) successfully put shade on the city’s cancer prevention agenda. Consequently Toronto is the first city in Canada to implement a shade policy. To advance this policy, a film was produced to present the members of this group, describe its workings, discuss the policy and demonstrate the necessity of multi-disciplinarity for skin cancer prevention.
Methods: The Shade Policy Committee of the UVRWG secured funding to hire a documentary film maker. Together this group prepared a film script that would encapsulate the rationale for shade, the necessity of including a range of expertise in shade creation, present the views of shade promoters and present examples of shade in Toronto.
Results: The film was shot and produced in 2013, and released publicly on You-tube in 2014. Entitled “Partners in Action: A Shade Policy for the City of Toronto”, it won the 2014 Canadian Dermatology Association Public Education Award.
Conclusions: Activity in Toronto for shade creation represents a successful synergy linking UVR awareness and skin cancer prevention with public health, city planning, urban forestry, civic design and health promotion policy. The use of social media extends the reach of health promoters to a larger audience and is an effective tool for skin cancer prevention.
Funding source: The City of Toronto / Toronto Public Health