Health Family Tree

Logging into the Health Family Tree program

  1. New users. If you have not used the Health Family Tree before, click on the "START" button to create a username and password.
  2. Returning users. If you already have a username and password, click on the "Returning Users Enter Here" link. This will let you log back into the system to complete or update your Health Family Tree.
  3. Participating with a group or school. Your group or school should have assigned you a group "code." After you select the radio button that you are with a group or school, a box appears that asks for your group code. Please enter your assigned code in this box. The code is not case-sensitive. The next screen asks if your group has told you to enter a "Participant ID." If so, please enter it here. This number might be your student number if you are with a school group or your employee or plan number if you are with a healthplan or other group. If no number has been assigned, leave the box blank. This number is provided so that if you are with a school, your teacher can be notified by email when you have completed the assignment. No data collected is sent to your teacher. Your Participant ID number will be deleted immediately after you have completed the project and your teacher has been sent an email that you have completed it. If you are with a group other than a school, this number will be retained and will allow your group to receive the results of your family history to add to the data that they have collected or will collect from you. Make sure that you know what your group will do with this data before you decide whether to fill in this box.
  4. Minor policy. If you are under 18 only choose the "I Accept" box after you have received permission from your parent or guardian.
  5. Create a username and password. Your username/password pair will be known only to you and keeps the information you enter confidential and inaccessible by other users. Choose a password that is not easily guessed. You should not use words, dates or names. Passwords must be six characters long and contain at least one non-alphabetic character.
  6. Welcome to the Health Family Tree. You are now ready to begin your Health Family Tree. Click on the "Start My Health Family History Evaluation."

Entering your health history

  1. Knowledge about your family history. A series of questions are provided to help you assess your knowledge about your family history before starting the Health Family Tree. Please fill out this section before you call your relatives to find out their health history.
  2. Creating your pedigree. The number of children you have and the numbers of brothers and sisters that your parents have (your aunts and uncles) need to be entered so the program can draw your pedigree. You can change the numbers later if needed.
  3. Enter your own health history. Next, you will be asked about your own health history. Enter all of the requested information. When you have answered all of the questions, click save and you will see your pedigree appear. Your symbol should be green if you answered all of the questions or orange if you answered some questions but not all of them. You will need to answer all of them, even if you mark "Don’t know" for some of them before your box will turn green and you can get your family history report.
  4. The scorecard in the upper right corner of the screen shows how many relatives you have completed entering information on and how many are still left to complete.
  5. You can save your Health Family Tree at any time and come back later to update or change it. To update or change your Health Family Tree, click on the "Returning Users Enter Here" link on the home page.

Completing your Health Family Tree

  1. Gathering your family history. Before continuing, talk to your parents and family members to gather the information needed to complete your Health Family Tree. The more complete and accurate the information is, the more useful the family history report will be to you. If you cannot find the answer to a question, mark "Don’t Know."
  2. Age at diagnosis. Age at diagnosis, or the age when the health problem started, is very important. Even a rough guess is better than no information. If you can't guess, enter the person's current age.
  3. Blood relatives. Blood relatives are those who are genetically related to each other. That is, they are related by blood, rather than by adoption or marriage. If a person shares at least one family member with you by blood, mark "Yes." For example, this means that half-brothers are blood relatives but step-parents are not blood relatives.
  4. Cause and age of death. If a family member died from one of the diseases listed, please mark "Yes" for that disease and enter the age that the disease was first diagnosed (or discovered). Mark the "deceased box" showing that they died from this disease. It should be the main reason they died rather than a secondary reason (e.g. colon cancer might be the main cause of death, but if the cancer spread to the lungs and the person had a heart attack - you would still mark colon cancer as the cause of death, not heart attack).
  5. Lifestyle questions. For deceased family members, the lifestyle questions (usual weight, smoking status, alcohol consumption, etc.) should be answered according to the habits of the family members when they were alive and healthy.

    If you are asked about cigarette smoking, answer only for cigarettes, not for pipes, cigars, or chewing tobacco. Most of the diseases listed are mainly linked to cigarettes.

    You or your family members must have stopped smoking for at least a year to be considered an ex-smoker. This is because it takes at least one year after quitting before your risk of disease approaches that of a non-smoker.

Getting your family history report

  1. Completed Health Family Tree. After completing your Health Family Tree, your pedigree should be green. If there is an orange square or circle on your pedigree, you will need to click on that family member and complete the questions. You can also change any information about a family member by clicking on their name in your pedigree. Only when all of your pedigree is green can you get your family history report. The report describes your family's risk of developing a health problem based on your family history. To get your report, click on the link "Survey completed."
  2. Parental Consent. If you are under age 18, you will be asked to have a parent or guardian verify that it is ok for you to obtain your family history report.
  3. Getting your family history report. A box that says "Now You've Finished Your Health Family Tree" will appear with three questions underneath. You now have the option to see your family history report. If you want to get your report, choose "Yes" to this question (first question). Some families would rather not know their family's risk and can choose "No."
  4. Getting more information. If you would like to be notified by us if new health information becomes available that might be important to you and your family, please choose "Yes" for this question (second question). We will email or mail you the Internet address or a summary of the information along with our recommendations. Any contact information you provide is completely confidential and will never be shared with any outside individuals. This information and your health data are also protected under regulations from the University of Utah Institutional Review Board.
  5. Participating in research studies. From time to time, new research studies begin that might be of interest to you or your family. These studies are usually conducted by a university or health department. If you are interested in hearing about studies for which you might qualify, please choose "Yes" to this question (third question). You are under no obligation to participate and may request to have your contact information removed at any time.
  6. Printing your family history report. After answering the above questions, you will see your family history report if you requested it. For the report to be printed correctly, you must click on the "Print Report" button to convert the report to a pdf format file. This file is opened by Adobe Acrobat Reader which you must have installed on your computer. You may save your report to your hard disk and/or print it on your printer. Don't print your report directly from the HTML web page, as it may not print correctly.

    Write your username on the report (and keep your password in a safe place) in case you want to update your family’s disease and risk factor status and produce a new Health Family Tree report. The Health Family Tree staff cannot provide you with your password or reset your password.

    If you have an increased risk for developing a disease, please go to the Genetic Science Learning Center and other suggested websites on your report to learn more about genetics and reducing your family’s risk of disease.
A program of the University of Utah School of Medicine and Utah Department of Health.
Copyright 2005 The University of Utah Cardiovascular Genetics Division
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