Trainers Sought to Educate Youngsters About Dangers of Tobacco and Excess Sun Exposure

Curriculum Developed at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Targets Young Teens
January 18, 2013

Cancer Awareness Youth Educator BadgeNew Brunswick, N.J. – The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Office of Community Outreach is recruiting volunteers to deliver a cancer awareness and prevention curriculum to pre-teens and teens in the greater New Brunswick area.  The Cancer Awareness Youth Educator Badge Program, an innovative new curriculum made possible in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, aims to educate more than 600 children about the dangers of tobacco use and excess sun exposure and how they can reduce their cancer risk.  Educator teams of two will engage in group activities with children aged 11 to 14, while using tailored lesson plans, visual aids and age-appropriate handouts designed by science and education experts at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and in the greater community. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Amanda Medina-Forrester, MA, MPH, a program development specialist at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey says it is critical to reach this age group. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and research shows that exposure to ultraviolet radiation as a child or teen can increase a person’s risk for developing skin cancer in adulthood. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2010 New Jersey Youth Tobacco Survey indicated that 14 percent of high school students were smokers, with evidence suggesting that many of these students may have started tobacco use in middle school.

“It is during the middle school years where youngsters start to become more independent and start making their own decisions, some of which may put them at risk.  Some of these decisions could be influenced by peer pressure or simply a lack of knowing the harms and effects of their actions,” she said.  “Through this program, we can help equip young people with the information they need so that they can make better choices and learn to lead a cancer preventative lifestyle.” Medina-Forrester was part of the team that developed the “train-the-trainer” curriculum. 

Interested members of the community who are 18 and older and currently work with middle-school-aged children are welcome to apply for the three-hour training session that will be held on Saturday, February 23.  Community organizations that are interested in delivering the program to their youth also are welcome to apply to serve as host sites. To learn more, contact Medina-Forrester at 732-235-9571 or at

About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Somerset Medical Center, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. *Academic Affiliate


Michele Fisher


precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute







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