Genetics: The Medical Family History

Identify families that may benefit from genetic services using the personal and family medical history interview process.

: 1 hr

After completing this activity participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of eliciting at least a 3-generation family history in primary care

  • Use standard pedigree symbols and nomenclature to document a medical family history

  • Recognize red flags in the medical family history

  • Assess the pedigree for clues about inheritance patterns

  • Utilize the pedigree to perform basic risk calculations

Professional Practice GapsIn an effort to define what healthcare providers need to know about medical genetics, several organizations developed core competencies (NCHPEG, 2000; ASHG, 2001). However, because clinical genetics is a relatively young and evolving field of medicine, many practitioners received insufficient formal genetics education. As a result, they express a lack of confidence in their clinical genetics knowledge and a lack of confidence in their ability to provide genetic counseling. References
Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics, American Society of Human Genetics. Medical school core curriculum in genetics. ASHG Website. December 2001. Available at: Accessed on: 2004-06-15.
Core competencies in genetics essential for all health-care professionals. National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics. 2000. Available at: Accessed on: 2004-09-21.