Family Health History

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A peek into the past can reveal a lot about your future.

Family health history is the story of diseases that run in your family. It is one part of the entire history of your family. Along with culture, values, environment, and behaviors, family health history influences the way you live your life. Learning about your family health history can help you make healthy choices: it is a cheap, easy way to improve your own health and the health of your family. Share the information you gather with your healthcare provider to further reduce your risk of disease and create a partnership around your health.

Start Your Own Initiative

There are many ways to use family health history. To start your own initiative, visit our Family Health History Initiative Guidelines. These will help to get a new initiative off the ground and provide a lot of information to consider to make your tool maximally effective. For one example of a family health history model, please visit the HL7 International Family Health History Overview.

For a presentation on how to start collecting your family health history, watch the Family Health History Collection Tools: Start Building Your Family Tree webinar.

CCFHH Program Awards

In 2008, Genetic Alliance released an RFP for organizations to use an online tool to customize the Does It Run In the Family? toolkit, including "A Guide to Family Health History" and "A Guide for Understanding Genetics and Health." Awardees used the toolkit within existing programs and initiatives to seamlessly integrate conversations about family health history into diverse communities across the country. The Award period ended in 2009, but partners will continue to use the family health history materials in their programs.

Ten organizations received awards by adopting the tool in different capacities. Below, you can see samples to guide your efforts after these award-winning models based on criteria that is relevant to or may benefit your organization.

Target Audience

Some of the award-winning organizations adopted the tool for a specific target audience. Click to look at award winners' project reports that were made for a certain:


Some organizations used the tool to supplement a system that they associate with. Click to see their reports that relate to:


The majority of the program winners were highly familiar with their target audiences and performed the general customizations of the Does It Run In the Family? booklets. However, two groups held focus groups to take their customization to a slightly higher degree.


A handful of program award winners conducted evaluations to examine the impact of the tool. Click to read the evaluations of the projects that used the following methods of evaluation:

Partnering with Other Organizations

Some organizations used or distributed the tool in conjunction with other organizations.

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