DANVILLE - Thanks to a multi-year $250,000 donation by Weis Markets to the Geisinger Genomic Medicine Institute to create the Family Health History Campaign, families gathered to share a holiday feast on Thanksgiving are being provided educational tools to also share important health information that can save lives.

"Thanksgiving is also National Family History Day, providing a great opportunity to spark a discussion about family health history, which is known to be a risk factor for many common chronic diseases," said Family History Campaign leader Andrew Faucett, director of policy and education, Geisinger Health System. "Through a gift from Weis Markets, we've developed a series of educational tools that will help guide the discussion and make it into a group activity. This program has the potential to identify potential health issues early when they are most treatable."

The Family History website offers users:

- An interactive activity packet that guides the collection of a family health history in a fun-based format.

- Educational tools to explain the importance of family history in preventive health.

- A guide to enable family history collection.

- A template to discuss family history with health care providers.

- Opportunities for online, telephone or in-person review of a community member's family history by a genetic counselor.

- The option to explore additional resources addressing family health history and health risks.

Weis Markets will also have free handouts of the education of the education materials at its pharmacy during the grand reopening celebration of its Danville store.

"Geisinger is known for its innovative programs and personal approach to treatment, and Weis Markets is proud to support such an important program," said Rick Seipp, vice president of pharmacy for Weis Markets. "We're fortunate to live in a region with many multi-generational families and mapping family history is one of the least expensive, most accessible and surefire ways to get an estimate of the genetic-linked disease risk, in addition to gathering anecdotal information about known environmental exposures, such as drinking and smoking."

Funding for the Family Health History Campaign was provided through a $250,000 donation from Weis Markets, in addition to funds from the Geisinger Genomic Institute. For more information, visit Geisinger.org/familyhistory.