State Health Department Announces Winners in Skin Cancer Prevention Poster Contest

Albany, NY (July 1, 2011) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) today announced that fifth grader Julia Hu of W.S. Mount Elementary School in Stony Brook, Suffolk County, is the state winner of the 2011 "SunWise with SHADE" Annual Poster Contest. The contest is designed to raise children's awareness about skin cancer.

The winning poster and 13 grade-level finalists were selected from more than 4,000 entries from students in kindergarten through eighth grade across the state.

Miss Hu will receive a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, a $50 check from DOH, and a digital camera from the SHADE Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to skin cancer prevention. Her poster also was entered in the national poster competition sponsored by the SHADE Foundation. Julia's teacher is Cynthia Howard.

In addition to the winners and honorable mentions listed below, New York had two winners in the K-3 national contest, Cynthia Rendon, P.S. 143 Q, Louis Armstrong Elementary School, Corona, Queens (Teacher: Maria Tsambazis) and third grader Brandon Rios, P 771K, Brooklyn (Teacher: Diane Herr). Their posters were chosen from among 2,500 entries as two of the five posters selected from among all K-3 submissions nationally to receive prizes.

State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D. M.P.H., said, "I congratulate all the students who participated in this contest for their wonderful artwork and, more importantly, their assistance in spreading the message about skin cancer."

Commissioner Shah also congratulates the DOH's Skin Cancer Project on having the highest submission of posters in the National Contest. SHADE Foundation received more than 10,000 posters from 45 states combined, with New York contributing over 4,000.

The New York State "SunWise with SHADE" grade-level Poster Contest winners are:

  • Kindergarten: Mudhakkir Qidwai, AL-Mamoor School, Jamaica, Queens; Teacher: Arfin Rahman
  • 1st Grade: Karah Castagna, Sunrise Drive Elementary, Sayville, Suffolk County. Teacher:A. Chaimowitz
  • 2nd Grade: James M. Pocchia, Jr., St. Patrick's School, Staten Island. Teacher: Jen Cantore
  • 3rd Grade: Min Kyung, Flushing Christian School, Flushing, Queens. Teacher: Leira Thompson
  • 4th Grade: Leah Poli, P.S. 204-The Vince Lombardi School, Brooklyn. Teacher: Jessica Horgan
  • 5th Grade: Julia Hu, W.S. Mount Elementary School, Stony Brook, Suffolk County. Teacher: Cynthia Howard
  • 6th Grade: Noah An, Valhalla Middle School, Valhalla, Westchester County. Teacher: Nicol Pazona
  • 7th Grade: Cassie Friedman, Saxton Middle School, Patchogue, Suffolk County. Teacher: Kerri Bruckner
  • 8th Grade: Sabrina Madera, Yonkers Middle High School, Yonkers, Westchester County. Teacher: V. Christie Clarke

Honorable Mentions are:

  • 3rd Grade: Kiana Nicole Pinard, Pat Kam School, Uniondale, NY, Teacher:Avis Gordon
  • 5th Grade: Jessica Wang, W.S. Mount Elementary, Stony Brook, NY, Teacher: Cynthia Howard
  • 6th Grade: Kyle Benzing, Clarence Middle School, Clarence, NY, Teacher: Mr. Gallagher
  • 8th Grade: Bianca Quintero, Martha Brown Middle School, Fairport, NY, Teacher: Rachael Stewart
  • 8th Grade: Christian Vega, Holy Family School, Bronx, NY, Teacher: Maria Davino

The most common types of skin cancer are the less-deadly basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. A third type of skin cancer, melanoma, is the most dangerous and can be fatal. More than 3,200 cases of melanoma are reported annually in New York State and approximately 449 deaths reported annually in the state are attributed to melanoma.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation during childhood and adolescence plays a role in the future development of both melanoma and basal cell cancer. It is estimated that between 65 percent and 90 percent of melanomas are caused by exposure UV radiation. To reduce exposure to UV radiation from the sun and the risk of skin cancer:

  • Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's UV rays are strongest.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts with long pants whenever possible.
  • Use full spectrum (UV-A and UV-B) sunscreen SPF 15 or greater, applying it to skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and again after swimming or perspiring.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Avoid tanning at tanning salons.

More information is available at:

Contact: Pete Constantakes 518 474 7354, ext.1