Uprooting Racial Health Disparities

Genealogy as a Community Health Library Service





genealogy and family history, health diparities, breast cancer, genetic testing, mixed methods


Genealogical researchers are the largest user group of archives and library special collections. Although the pursuit of family history is a popular hobby in North America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that many patients do not collect family health history (FHH). Adequate FHH supports diagnosis and risk assessment for hereditary cancers. Referrals to genetic testing services and counseling reflect glaring racial disparities that are partially attributed to inadequate FHH. Library and information science (LIS) education may offer opportunities to introduce archives curriculum in undergraduate programs and foster synergies with community health outreach program design. Supporting the development of accurate FHH and meeting the genealogy needs of diverse communities is a critical example of the influence LIS education may wield in the reduction of racial disparities in hereditary cancer care.


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