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SSW Works: A Virtual Learning Environment for Occupational Skin Cancer Prevention

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44CA257778-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44CA257778
Amount: $1,730,358.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 102
Solicitation Number: PA20-262
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-08-31
Small Business Information
1667 Cole Blvd, Ste 220
Golden, CO 80401-3313
United States
DUNS: 117936042
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (303) 565-4321
Business Contact
Phone: (303) 565-4330
Research Institution

Americans who work outdoors are exposed to an extreme amount of solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) over a
lifetime that substantially increases their risk for developing skin cancer. Annually, skin cancer is diagnosed in
over 3.5 million U.S. adults, melanoma kills nearly 7,000 Americans, and treatment costs at least $8 billion.
The U.S. Surgeon General has identified occupational sun safety as a national priority. Our team has spent the
past two decades developing a successful comprehensive approach to occupational sun protection in 5 trials
funded largely by the National Cancer Institute. Sun Safe Workplaces (SSW) combines policy and education to
increase workplace actions on sun safety and employee sun protection practices. In this SBIR Fast-Track
application, we will develop a virtual learning environment (VLE), SSW Works, to distribute the SSW program
to American workplaces. It will be comprised of a database, content management (interactive toolbox), and
media platform (trackable training) that tailors the SSW program to management's readiness to innovate on
sun safety based Diffusion of Innovations Theory. SSW Works will better integrate SSW into safety training by
improving appropriateness for Hispanic and African American workers and conforming with the latest learning
management systems technology (LMS). Strong scientific premise comes from the published literature and our
5 previous studies that demonstrated SSW is feasible and effective in public works, public safety, and outdoor
recreation workplaces. The Phase I specific aims will establish the feasibility of SSW Works by 1) creating and
validating an algorithm to tailor resources and implementation strategies to employers' stages in the diffusion
of innovations process; 2) identifying unique attitudes, barriers, and practices related to sun safety among
Hispanic and African American employees in focus group discussion and adjusting the SSW content; and 3)
creating a prototype of the SSW Works VLE, including inputs, staging algorithm and tailored report, employee
training compatible with a popular LMS, and storyboards of brief videos for managers and employees and
testing it for feasibility and usability with managers and Hispanic and African American outdoor workers, and
confirming that the training can operate within a popular LMS. In Phase II, SSW Works will be fully
programmed and tested for effectiveness by achieving the specific aims of: 1) producing the full SSW Works, in
English and Spanish, for distribution of the evidence-based SSW and 2) conducting a randomized controlled
trial with 20 workplaces evaluating impact of SSW distributed over the SSW Works on employees' sun safety
practices (primary outcome). The primary hypothesis is: compared to employers in the minimal information
control group, employers assigned to receive SSW Works will have employees that practice more sun
protection at posttest. The SBIR Fast-Track research is significant and innovative. SSW Works will have high
impact and commercial potential because outdoor workforce is large and at very high risk for skin cancer,
improving sun safety will reduce health care costs and save lives, and there are few commercial competitors.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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