In November 2004, the Surgeon General launched a national public health campaign entitled the Family Health History Initiative. Every year since then, the Surgeon General has recognized Thanksgiving as National Family Health History Day.
This year, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) along with Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., encourages the public to personalize their healthcare by sharing their family health history with each other and tracking illness from one generation to the next.
Why is it important to discuss your family's health history? Check out this video from NHGRI Director Eric Green talking about the importance of knowing your family health history and explaining how the online tool, My Family Health Portrait can help to record this information for sharing with families and medical providers.
In the future, genetic tests may make it possible to identify the differences in genes that may increase disease susceptibility. Until then, family health history is a key component to your personalized health care.
Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving from all of us at NHGRI!
Last Updated: December 21, 2015