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Vol. 11, No. 6, 2008
Issue release date: August 2008
Community Genet 2008;11:343–351

Healthy Choices through Family History: A Community Approach to Family History Awareness

Petruccio C. · Mills Shaw K.R. · Boughman J. · Fernandez C. · Harlow I. · Kruesi M. · Kyler P. · Lloyd-Puryear M.A. · O’Leary J. · Skillman A. · Terry S. · McKain F.
aInstitute for Cultural Partnerships, Harrisburg, Pa., bAmerican Society of Human Genetics, Bethesda, Md., cAmerican Folklife Center and dGenetic Alliance, Washington, D.C., and eHealth Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, Md., USA

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Background: The importance of family health history data in health care is widely acknowledged. Few individuals report having collected this information from their own family. Methods: This project implemented a community-based approach to design and pilot a linguistically and culturally appropriate family health history collection toolkit for two minority populations in Harrisburg, Pa. Results: The toolkit relied on oral traditions and family stories as a way to successfully introduce genetics education and family health history to these populations. Participants not only found the tool engaging and culturally appropriate, they were also able to obtain information that they were likely to share with their physician. Conclusion: While limited in scope, this project provides a model to other communities for the design, pilot testing, and implementation of a community-based public health initiative regarding family health histories.

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