FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Connecticut Department of Public Health

November 23, 2010                                      Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                                             (860) 509-7270



Hartford - The Department of Public Health encourages Connecticut families to take a few minutes on Thursday, November 25th – Thanksgiving Day – to discuss their family health history. 


Thanksgiving Day was designated by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2004 as national Family History Day, dedicated to families increasing their knowledge of their own health history.

Family members share their genes, as well as their environment, lifestyles and habits.  Everyone can recognize traits that run in their family, such as curly hair, dimples, leanness or athletic ability.  However, risks for diseases such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease also run in families – and your family health history may hold clues to your own risk for disease.


“Knowing your family health history is an important way to understand your risk factors and the preventive steps you can take to keep you and your family healthy,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin.


While most diseases are due to the interactions of multiple genes and environmental factors, almost everyone has available now – at no cost – a personalized set of information that captures these factors and can serve as the foundation for individualized disease prevention -- the family history.  Yet many individuals are unaware of their relatives’ medical histories. 


The Family History Initiative encourages family discussion of health history, and provides a free, easy-to-use, web-based tool that people can download and complete called “My Family Health Portrait.”  This resource can be found by going to the DPH website at, and typing in family health history in the DPH “search box”.  A family health history workbook and pocket guide can also be found here. 


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.