Dougherty Co., Emory partner to help outdoor workers battle summer heat
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With the summer quickly approaching, the CDC is making it a point to look into just how dangerous being exposed to the sun for long periods of time is — especially in Southwest Georgia.
The Go Sun Smart project is a partnership between Emory University and the Dougherty County Commission that aims to reduce UV exposure and prevent skin cancer. Especially for underserved outdoor workers in Georgia.
“Many of us don’t realize the fact that melanoma, everyone is susceptible to it,” Chuck Mathis, Dougherty County Public Works director, said. “And it’s maybe not as prevalent in darker-skinned people, but we do get it. And as the research said, most times when we notice it, it’s in a stage where it’s not treatable. But to be a part of research that can identify this and hopefully help other folks as well, it’s a great opportunity.”
A grant is being provided by the CDC for this project. It’ll be between $200,000-$300,000.
Research will take place over a two-year period, where Emory will develop a final report with recommendations that Dougherty County will implement.
“We have a lot of folks, in general, that work outside. And to have a research project specifically targeting a population that has not historically been considered when discussing skin cancer prevention is an opportunity for us to move in the right direction,” County Administrator Michael McCoy said. “And to develop policies and practices that will enable this population to also benefit from the knowledge gained research that will best prevent skin cancer.”
The Go Sun Smart Project will also help to provide items like hats and sunscreen to further prevent Dougherty County employees from harmful sun exposure.
But Mathis said a lot of Dougherty County’s outside workers are already implementing those safety measures.
“One of the things that I’ve noticed is that a lot of our workers here in Dougherty County, they’re covering up a lot of their skin because of the activity. Which is one of the goals,” he said. “So we’re doing some of those things already. But to have the coaching, to have the web-based resources, I think it’s going to be a big help for us.”
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