Family history is a genomic tool that can assess common chronic diseases in families such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and single gene disorders. According to the NIH State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on Family History and Improving Health, family history can effect positive lifestyle changes, individual empowerment, and clinical decisions. To raise awareness for the importance of the family health history, a national public health campaign known as the Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative has been launched. The focus of the campaign is the development of My Family Health Portrait, a free online tool that allows individuals to collect their family health history and generate a family health portrait. The resulting family health portrait can be printed and shared with family members and healthcare professionals.
The purpose of our study is to determine if an intervention delivered by faith community nurses affects the sharing of family history information between family members and between patients and their healthcare providers. The intervention consists of instructions delivered by faith-community nurses in the context of face-to-face training sessions on how to use the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait to obtain family history information. Two experimental faith-based groups and two control faith-based groups will be employed in this parallel group clinical trial. The experimental groups will receive the intervention. The control groups will be placed on a wait list and receive an alternative treatment, a brochure that covers the information about the family history tool. An electronic survey will be delivered to all groups about 3 months after they receive the intervention or brochure. The survey will assess the patient communication of family history information with family members and health professionals. Control participants will be offered face-to-face training at the conclusion of the study if they express an interest.
This study aims to search for evidence supporting whether or not the use of electronic tools can change a person’s knowledge about family history and affect his or her communication with family members and healthcare providers about the family history information. More importantly, clinicians, who are armed with the knowledge about the family history of their patients, can make rational clinical decisions and optimize patient care.
Patricia Newcomb, PhD, RN CPNP
Barbara M. Raudonis, PhD, RN, FNGNA, FPCN
Denise Cauble RN, PhD Candidate in Nursing
Quyen N. Tran, BSN Honors Student