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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Family Health Portrait

My colleague and office-mate, Anna K, showed me an Associated Press article printed in the Boston Globe, "Tracking red flags in family history", knowing my interest in medical issues. Thanks to the efforts of Surgeon General Steven Galson, there is now an online tool to create a family health tree, similar to those genealogists use. According to the website, "My Family Health Portrait is an internet-based tool that makes it easy for you to record your family health history. The tool is easy to access on the web and simple to fill out. It assembles your information and makes a "pedigree" family tree that you can download. It is private--it doesn't keep your information. It gives you a health history that you can share with family members or send to your health care practitioner."

The premise behind the creation of this site is to find familial connections that may alert you to identify potential risk factors. If you know you may be predisposed to cancer or hypertension, you may want to quit smoking, reduce salt intake, etc. According to the Center for Disease Control, fewer than 30% of Americans have ever collected health information from relatives.
If you want to check out this site and perhaps start creating your own family health profile, go to

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