Community-Centered Family Health History: A Customized Approach to Increased Health Communication and Awareness
O’Leary, James and Edelson, Vaughn and Gardner, Nicora and Gepp, Alejandra and Kyler, Panelpha and Moore, Penelope and Petruccio, Claudia and Williams, Marc and Terry, Sharon and Bowen, Deborah (2011) Community-Centered Family Health History: A Customized Approach to Increased Health Communication and Awareness. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 5 (2). pp. 113-122.
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BACKGROUND: There has been little study of whether family health history (FHH) tools used by individuals, families, and communities inspire measurable changes in communication and behavior. OBJECTIVES: The Community-Centered Family Health History (CCFHH) project was a collaborative endeavor among national and community-based organizations with an interest in genetics education and health. Using community- based participatory research principles as a foundation, CCFHH examined whether the Does It Run In the Family? toolkit, a set of two customizable booklets on health and genetics, encourages discussion and collection of FHH information across diverse communities. METHODS: Five communities across the country measured the utility of customized versions of the Does It Run In the Family? toolkit. Each community partner recruited families, consisting of two or more blood relatives, to use the toolkit for 3 months, discuss it among their family members, and consider the implications of the health information. Pre- and postintervention surveys measured family communication about family history and disease risk and the use of FHH information in health care provider interactions. RESULTS: After aggregate, cross-community analysis of individual responses, from pre- to post-toolkit use family members showed increases in communication about family history of disease risk (p < .05) and in awareness about FHH (p < .05). CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that diverse communities are receptive to FHH intervention, and tailored health educational materials can lead to increased conversations and awareness about health issues across communities.