Knowing your “Beginnings” Make for Better “Endings”: Community Outreach and The Importance of Family Health History. By Jackie Powers
Background: The advent of genomic medicine requires educating the general public about the causation of complex disease, and importance of family health history (FHH). This study targeted the Guilford county community members to educate them about the importance of FHH. Methods: A 45 minute PowerPoint presentation was created based on a literature review of successful educational strategies and feedback received through a needs assessment conducted with community organization leaders. The presentation was delivered to four community groups in Guilford County. Pre/post tests were disseminated at each presentation to assess improvement in knowledge of the participant population, and were assessed through z- and t-tests. Quality and usefulness of the presentation was assessed by a satisfaction survey. Results: There were a total of 115 participants. Pre-tests found that participants had an understanding about the importance of, and what factors to include in an FHH. However, participants lack knowledge about questions pertaining to the 1. appropriateness of genetic testing, 2. current definition of genomic medicine, and 3. when to begin routine cancer screenings. The satisfaction survey indicated that participants approved of the simple flow of information and many expressed a plan to pursue recording FHH and lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. For future presentations more audience involvement and inclusion of Alzheimer’s disease would be most beneficial. Conclusions: Overall, the presentation served as a good tool in improving knowledge and educating the Guilford County Community about genomic medicine.