193209 Identifying barriers to genetic literacy among African Americans and Latinos in the community

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Catharine Wang, PhD, MSc , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Rachel E. Gallo, BS , Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cheltenham, PA
Carmen J. Breen-Lopez, BA , Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cheltenham, PA
Gwendolyn A. Smith, RN, MS/MBA , Crozer-Keystone Health System, Springfield, PA
Julie Cousler Emig, MSW , Congreso de Latinos Unido, Inc., Phialdelphia, PA
Rosalyn Beene-Harris, MPH , Hueman Beene Consulting, Lansing, MI
Linda Fleisher, MPH , Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cheltenham, PA
Suzanne M. Miller, PhD , Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cheltenham, PA
In an endeavor to increase genetic literacy, multiple efforts are now underway to inform the general public about the importance of family history for chronic diseases and to promote tools for the active collection of health history information. Little is known, however, about whether the public will utilize family history tools in intended ways. The study objectives were to: 1) assess beliefs and understanding about the role of family history for one's health among African Americans (AAs) and Latinos (Ls), 2) describe their awareness and understanding of mass communication efforts highlighting the importance of understanding family history for improved health, and 3) evaluate existing family history tools for cultural and linguistic appropriateness. A total of 8 focus groups were conducted with AAs and Ls in the community. Overall, there was great interest in family health history and its implications for oneself and, more importantly, one's children. None of the participants had heard of any mass media campaigns talking about the importance of knowing one's family history. Participants understood the value of knowing one's family history, discussed diseases that “run in their families,” questioned whether some of these diseases were hereditary, and identified barriers to learning about family history and discussing it with family members. Best approaches for disseminating information on family history were suggested. Specific feedback by participants on some currently available family history tools will be presented. Study findings will help inform efforts to make family history tools more appropriate and accessible to underserved minority populations.

Learning Objectives:
Describe knowledge and awareness of the importance of knowing one’s family health history among African Americans and Latinos. Identify barriers to learning about family health history. Discuss approaches for disseminating information on family health history to the public.

Keywords: Genetics, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I received a doctoral degree in public health in 2003. I have conducted research in the area of public health genomics for over 10 years and have previously presented other data from this NHGRI funded research study. I am the PI on R03 grant from NHGRI which funded this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.