By Wendy Sarubbi | June 6, 2016 1:51 pm

Five College of Medicine seniors who hope to specialize in dermatology recently taught 180 fifth-graders at Moss Park Elementary School how to “Live With The Sun.”

The educational event was the brainchild of Class of 2018 student Talayesa “Tal” Buntinx, whose grandfather died from complications from metastatic melanoma. “I have a passion for early education, prevention of disease and skin protection,” she said. “I wanted to do something to make a difference.”

The medical students spoke to youngsters and their teachers in the Moss Park cafeteria about the importance of wearing sunscreen with UV protection and avoiding tanning beds.

“I learned more about skin cancer and what to avoid,” one Moss Park youngster explained.

Med student Fariha Siddiqui said it’s important to teach children early about the dangers of sun exposure, especially in Florida. “The earlier we talk about preventing disease, the better the reward and the earlier the imprint, and the greater the chance that we help develop lifelong habits in these children that they can hopefully pass on to their friends and family,” Siddiqui said. M.D. student Sami Saikaly added that the class was also an opportunity for the physicians in training to share their knowledge. “It was a really rewarding experience to give back to the community and to see everyone from students to teachers giving feedback about how much they learned with regard to protecting their skin,” he said.

The UCF students hope to continue the “Live with the Sun” program at other schools. “The students’ excitement and enthusiasm about learning about skin protection was infectious and surpassed our expectations,” said medical student Jennifer Nergard. “We can’t wait to do it more with other schools and communities throughout central Florida.”

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