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In This Issue:
Dear BWH Community:
Brigham and Women's Hospital is known around the world as an innovative medical community with a passion that surrounds its mission's focus on caring, teaching and research. BWH's treasured history embraces an enthusiastic spirit of discovery, and, once again, our hospital has the opportunity to build on that formidable foundation. We have been given the unique opportunity to be in the national spotlight as we take another step forward in the advancement of medicine.
In this spirit, I would like to introduce and encourage you to learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital Family History Project. This project represents an exciting opportunity for all BWH employees to help shape the future of health care and, at the same time, promote your own health and that of your family. This will be a chance for you to work closely and collaboratively with your personal care provider and to better understand your own medical history.
The BWH Family History Project will give you the tools to organize your health information into a family tree by using the U.S. Surgeon General's “My Family Health Portrait.” You can find this form at www.bwhpikenotes.org under BWH Family History Project or directly at http://familyhistory.genome.gov
The information you gather about your family medical history is your personal information that you may wish to share with medical professionals. The Surgeon General's hope is that you will do this to empower your physician to provide you the best in health care. The family medical history you share with your doctor will remain private and will not be provided to anyone else unless you choose to do so.
The BWH Family History Project begins this month. This is a voluntary effort. You do not have to participate if you do not wish, but I hope you will because this is a free opportunity to promote your own health and the health of your family.
If you have questions about the project, please visit our Intranet site to view “Frequently Asked Questions” and an e-mail for you to ask other questions that might not be addressed.
Here are just a couple of examples.
Why is BWH participating in this project?
A: A family history can enrich the information about your health background, and by working with your own doctor, you can make decisions together about screenings or other prevention efforts for specific conditions that run in your family. This is valuable information for all of our employees to know. This is the first time that an employer has participated in such a project of national scope, and the BWH community, with its history of participating in internationally respected research studies, such as the Nurses' Health Study and the Women's Health Project, understands the leadership role it can play by engaging in this project.
What happens to the family medical history information I collect when I use the U.S. Surgeon General's 'My Family Health Portrait' tool?
A: The family medical history information is your private health history. You do not need to share it with anyone unless you so choose. We encourage you to share it with your personal physician to assist your physician in providing you the best health care possible.
Please join me at a Brigham and Women's hospital-wide meeting on Monday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. in the Bornstein Amphitheater to offer more information and answer your questions about the BWH Family History Project.
Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA