Family Health History Resources
CDC’s General Public Pages: Family History
This website is a compilation of family history tools and guidelines, including fact sheets, a podcast, and more.
U.S. Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative
To help focus attention on the importance of family history, the U.S. Surgeon General, in cooperation with other agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has launched a national public health campaign, called the U.S. Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history.
Knowing Your Relatives’ Medical History Can Help You Identify Health Risks and Develop a Personalized Prevention Program
One man’s diagnosis of colon cancer helped encourage his family to start a trend of seeking preventative care. Read his story and find more information about the importance of taking a family health history.
Family Reunion Packets
Designed by the Utah Department of Health for the family reunion organizer who wants to help his/her family members learn more than just their genealogy at their next family/summer reunion. The materials help explain why family health history is important and how to collect one.
Senior Center Packets
Designed by the Utah Department of Health for senior center directors and activity coordinators who want to help their clients learn more about their family health history.
This site offers a place to store and update your family health history information, along with information on specific genetic conditions, genetic tests, and more.
Collecting the Information
How to Compile Your Family Medical History
This guide from the Mayo Clinic gives hints for collecting family medical information.
Oral History Interviews
This resource from the American Folklife Center outlines steps for planning an oral history project and provides tips for interviewing.
Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide
This general guide to conducting interviews includes a sample list of questions to get started, as well as examples of ways to preserve and present your findings, collected from Smithsonian folklorists who have collected folklife and oral history from family and community members over the years.
Folklife and Fieldwork: A Laymen’s Introduction to Field Techniques
A resource from the American Folklife Center to encourage and guide the participation of all citizens in the process of documenting our diverse traditional culture.
Assessing Your Risk
Recent Literature Regarding Use of Family Health History
This compilation of scientific journal articles addresses the use of family health history to assess risk for some common diseases. Citations are organized by condition and include links to PubMed where appropriate.
The Genetic Family History in Practice Newsletter
The National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics presents three newsletters each year highlighting family health history.
Family History and Your Health
This quarterly newsletter from the Michigan Department of Community Health focuses on the role of family history in various chronic conditions. Geared for the public, it can be found in local Michigan genetics clinics and public health departments, but it is nationally applicable.
Decision for Life: The Presence of a Genetic Mutation Can Increase the Risk of Cancer and Necessitate Tough Choices
This is the story of a woman finding out that she has a genetic mutation that increases her risk for cancer. Read an account of the preventative actions she took to decrease her risk.
Family History—An Early Warning for Your Child
This podcast for the general public tells you how family health history can save your child’s life and benefit the whole family.
Ethnic and Cultural Concerns
Cross-Cultural Primary Care: A Patient-Based Approach
This article from the Annals of Internal Medicine addresses the issue of cultural competence and stresses the fact that physicians need to understand the cultural backgrounds of their patients. Ethnic beliefs and backgrounds affect the ways that people understand and use information, as well as the way they communicate it.
Bridging the Culture Gap
This piece from the New York Times focuses on how one’s culture can affecthis/her healthcare and healthcare perception. Physicians and clinicians are increasingly becoming aware of these cultural differences to be most effective in communicating health information. Culture may not be an issue for every patient, but the idea is to avoid generalizations.
How Cultural Background Affects Health
This short article from the New York Times centralizes on the idea that everyone should receive equal medical care. However, the treatment should be individualized, if needed, depending on a patient’s family history and culture.
Primary Care and Genetics
The Genetics in Primary Care Institute (GPCI) aims to increase primary care provider knowledge and skills in providing genetic-based services. Visit the GPCI website for provider education on genetics - including the Time Out for Genetics webinar series - as well as more information on how to integrate genetics into your practice.
NIH State-of-the-Science Conference: Family History and Improving Health
This conference took place August 24-26, 2009, and addressed the use of family history in primary care settings. Panels assessed the availability of medical knowledge as it relates to healthcare providers, patients, and the general public. Participants also discussed realities, challenges, and positive and negative outcomes of supplementing primary care with family histories. The general consensus was that family history is an important part of medicine and should improve health outcomes though obstacles facing its implementation to the system remain.
Use of Family History Information in Pediatric Primary Care and Public Health
This supplement to the Journal of Pediatrics summarizes the results of a February 2006 workgroup held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the use of family medical history in pediatric primary care practice and public health.
The Role of the Primary Care Physician in Managing Genetic Diseases (or, Do GPs Need to Know About Genetics?)
This article emphasizes the importance of incorporating genetics and primary care and explains that there are obstacles to overcome before this can be achieved.
Deficiency of Knowledge of Genetics and Genetic Tests Among General Practitioners, Gynecologists, and Pediatricians: a Global Problem
This abstract outlines a study indicating that general practitioners are alarmingly deficient in knowledge of genetics.