The Professional Women in Advocacy Award Recognizes the SUNucate Initiative


ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., October 22, 2019 – The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) was presented with the 2019 Excellence in Advocacy Award for Excellence in a State Issue Campaign by the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference.

The award recognized ASDSA’s advocacy initiative, SUNucate, and the contributions of ASDSA’s Advocacy team: Kristin Hellquist, Director of Advocacy and Practice Affairs; Emily Besser, Manager of Advocacy and Practice Affairs; and Jenny Zales, Associate of Advocacy and Practice Affairs.

In partnership with Women in Government Relations, the conference recognizes everyday women advocates with an annual award. Awards were also given in a number of other categories.

The legislation known as SUNucate is designed to eliminate barriers that prohibit students from possessing and using over-the-counter sunscreen in school. Sunscreen often falls under broad reaching “medication bans” that require a physician’s note or prescription to utilize in school. SUNucate-related measures have successfully passed in 24 states and the District of Columbia with pending bills in three additional states.

“I am thrilled that the tireless efforts of ASDSA in advocating for legislation allowing kids to use sunscreen in school has been recognized with such a prestigious award. The lifelong impact this legislation will have on children across the country by teaching sun-safe behavior now cannot be underscored,” said ASDSA President Murad Alam, MD, MBA. “I look forward to the continued success of ASDSA in working to pass this important legislation in other states in 2020.”

The need for such legislation arose after concerns were raised by dermatologists and reports in the national media about students being required to bring a note or prescription from a physician in order to possess or use sunscreen, which is classified as an over-the-counter drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Preventive Services Task Force both believe that children should have access to sunscreen and other sun-protective measures in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

To learn more about SUNucate, visit

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With a membership of 6,400+ physicians, ASDSA is a 501(c) (6) association, dedicated to education and advocacy on behalf of dermatologic surgeons and their patients. For more information, visit

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