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Family Health History Initiative

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Family Health History Initiative has developed a family health history tool that can help people collect information about their family’s health history to inform prevention and treatment decisions. This is particularly important for the genetic disorders that we work with within our department, as they can have familial ties. Directing providers and individuals to this site may help to visualize some of the risk factors that they are exposed to and implement preventative measures accordingly. It also may help someone with an identified disorder understand the family lineage that may be associated with the abnormality.

By connecting your patients to the tool, it can:

  • Help to identify diseases or conditions that they may be at increased risk for developing.
  • Point out behaviors (smoking, inactivity) or environmental exposures (secondhand smoke, farm chemicals) that may be increasing their risk for disease.
  • Help them take advantage of appropriate screening tests that may detect problems early.

The Genetic Alliance also offers family health history tools on their website that are customizable for different communities and cultures.

The following are more details for understanding family health history: