Community Conversations: Sister to Sister not only aims to foster open and honest dialogue between key stakeholders in the health of black women and their families in Cambridge. As a women's health initiative, we also aim to improve the health literacy of our conversation participants, thereby empowering them to utilize provided information and make appropriate decisions. In the coming weeks we will provide links to useful tools and resources on various topics related to health and healthcare.
Your family history holds key information about your past and clues to your future health. Many of your physical traits (such as eye color, hair color, and height) are inherited. So, too, are risks for certain genetic conditions and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. You may have noticed that some of your relatives are healthier and live longer than other relatives. You may also have noticed that some relatives have the same health problems. By collecting your family’s health history, you can learn what health problems you may be at increased risk for in the future and how to reduce your risks. For instance, people at increased risk for heart disease may be able to reduce their risk through not smoking, regular exercise and diet.
How To Record Your Family History:
Draw a family tree
For each relative, try to write down as many of these items as possible: age or date of birth; medical problems such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, mental illness, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, etc.
Keep it in a safe place and update it every couple of years
Source: National Society of Genetic Counselors. For more information,
Source: March of Dimes