Adoption—Surgeon General launches “Family Medical History Initiative”

“Adoptees with a comprehensive family medical history have a lower health risk and better chance for a longer healthier life. Early diagnosis is a critical factor in health care and especially important for adoptees.” —Judith Land


Surgeon General launches Family History Initiative on Thanksgiving Day. In Massachusetts, the famous 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a particularly good harvest. Prayers of thanksgiving, religious services and special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for a Day of Thanksgiving. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first official nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “As a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God”.

To help focus attention on the importance of family medical history, the Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving to be National Family History Day. Over the Thanksgiving holiday when families gather together to share a meal, Americans are urged to talk about, and to write down, the health problems that seem to run in their family. Health care professionals have known for a long time that hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, sickle cell anemia and many other diseases are hereditary. Despite the increasing emphasis on diagnostic technology, many physicians perceive the medical history as the preeminent source of information with a much higher value in diagnosis than either the physical examination or laboratory and radiography information. Tracing the illnesses suffered by parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives helps doctors predict the disorders to which their descendants are at risk, prescribe early diagnostic measures, and recommend preventive actions to keep their children and grandchildren healthy.

Learning about family health history can help ensure a longer, healthier future and even save lives. Because family health history is such a powerful screening tool, the Surgeon General created a free website to help make it fun and easy for anyone to create a portrait of their family’s health. My Family Health Portrait is a secure tool that takes about 20 minutes to create. The tool can be shared with other family members, who can add their health information. The family health portrait is an informative tool to share with doctors and health care providers.

Genetics locked in our DNA provides valuable information about family medical history and knowledge of family medical history is a major benefit of open adoption. Children with complete pedigrees and direct knowledge of their biological antecedents have a distinct advantage over those who don’t. A thorough investigation of family medical heritage could save your life—but preparing a family health portrait is often a daunting task for children who are orphaned, fostered and adopted.

Judith Land, Author and Adoptee

Adoption Detective Book | About Judith Land | Adoption Reunion FAQ’s

adopción – antecedentes médicos familiares | Усыновление – семейной истории болезни

About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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4 Responses to Adoption—Surgeon General launches “Family Medical History Initiative”

  1. Di Saunders says:

    Hi – ta for this, I have twitted this event and posted on my Facebook sites as “please do NOT do this in Australia – salt in the wounds to Adoptees”. Oh yes let’s talk happy families NOT, especially on Thanksgiving Day. Adoptees are already burdened by Gratitude, let alone Thanksgiving for family they may not have access to, or have been rejected by … again … again and again. Who really gets it? Keep posting 🙂

  2. Judith Land says:

    Reblogged this on Adoption Detective | A Novel By Judith Land and commented:

    May all the blessings of Thanksgiving fill your hearts and home!

  3. Pingback: “My adoption involved a wild car chase—just like in the movies…” | Adoption Detective | A True Story by Judith Land

  4. Pingback: “Adoption—Choosing by Advantages” | Adoption Detective | A True Story by Judith Land

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