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Notice to Readers: National Family History Day --- Thanksgiving Day

Beginning in 2004, Thanksgiving Day was declared National Family History Day by the U.S. Surgeon General to encourage families to discuss their health histories. Although 96% of persons in the United States believe that knowing their family history is important, only one third of them have ever tried to gather and write down their family health history (1).

The Office of the Surgeon General, in collaboration with several agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, developed a tool for recording family health information (available at In addition, in 2002, CDC's National Office of Public Health Genomics (NOPHG) launched the Family History Public Health Initiative, which collaborates with government agencies, public health organizations, universities, and the private sector to assess and promote the use of family history for improving the health of the U.S. population. Family history resources and tools are available from NOPHG at

To extend this initiative to children, CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities sponsored a meeting in 2006 to assess the use of family history information in pediatric primary care and to evaluate medical conditions that could serve as models for using this information in pediatric and public health settings (2). A supplement to the September 2007 issue of Pediatrics contains articles based on the findings from the meeting. Access to the Pediatrics supplement and additional information regarding the 2006 meeting are available at


  1. US Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2006. Available at
  2. Green RF. Summary of workgroup meeting on use of family history information in pediatric primary care and public health. Pediatrics 2007;120(Suppl 2):S87--100.

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Date last reviewed: 11/14/2007


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