MDCH Recognizes May 14-20 As National Women's Health Week

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

May 19, 2006

As National Women’s Health Week comes to a close, the Michigan Department of Community Health is asking minority women to increase their use of available health services to combat health disparities.

Minority women use fewer health services yet continue to deal with premature death, disability, and disease. Many minority women also face social, economic, and cultural barriers. The first tool within the line of defense for these women is learning about their family’s health history.

A family health history refers to health information about you and your close relatives. Family members share genes, environments, lifestyles, behavior choices, and cultures. Because a family health history takes a “picture” of all these characteristics, it provides important clues about risk factors for many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer and other conditions that can run in families. A risk factor does not guarantee but rather increase your chances of getting a disease.

It is important to note the following based on your family’s health history:

  • Major medical conditions and causes of death
  • Age family member developed the disease and age at death
  • For those with chronic diseases, note their lifestyle choices (such as smoking, alcohol use, lack of physical activity, and/or poor diet)
  • Genetic disorders, birth defects and/or learning disabilities

For more information on family health history, please go to For information on women’s health in Michigan, please visit, click on prevention and then Health Disparity Reduction and Minority Health selections on this website.