Blood Pressure sunday: Introducing genomics to the community through family history

Velma Theisen, Debra Duquette*, Sharon Kardia, Catharine Wang, Rosalyn Beene-Harris, Janice Bach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Family history of a chronic disease, such as high blood pressure, is an important predictor of future disease. The integration of genomics information into public health activities offers the opportunity to help raise awareness among populations at high risk for high blood pressure. Context The prevalence of high blood pressure in blacks at any age is about twice that of whites. Detroit is second among major U.S. cities in the percentage of residents who are black (81.6%). According to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 1998-2002, the perceived health status of Detroit respondents was one of the worst in Michigan; 17.4% of Detroit respondents reported no health care coverage; 69.6% reported being obese or overweight; and 33.1% reported no physical activity. Methods The Michigan Department of Community Health and the University of Michigan's Center for Genomics and Public Health collaborated on a pilot program to develop a worksheet emphasizing the importance of personal family history of high blood pressure. The handout was distributed to individuals at primarily black, Detroit-area churches during an annual screening event for high blood pressure and stroke. Consequences Approximately 500 handouts were distributed; a collaborative effort was achieved; genomics information was integrated into an existing program; the ability to reach churches in a predominantly black community was demonstrated; consumers reported interest in the subject matter; and an appropriate literacy level for the handout was attained. Interpretation The strengths of this pilot program and suggested modifications may serve to guide others in genomics and/or chronic disease programs in future endeavors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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