Primary care providers

Your family health history might be one of the only things you know more about than your healthcare provider when you go to his or her office. Make sure you know your family health history before you go for your visit, and don't be afraid to talk about it - and any other health questions or concerns you have - with your provider!  Check out our section on Collecting Family Health History, and bring in your Healthcare Provider Card in to your next appointment!

What Is a Primary Care Provider?

A primary care provider is the doctor that you and your family visit regularly. You may have someone that you visit for help with a cold. This is your primary care provider. Your primary care provider also can help with concerns about a genetic condition. Primary care providers can:

  • Talk about your health concerns
  • Determine if you need to see a genetics professional
  • Refer you to a genetics professional
  • Serve as a “tour guide” to the world of specialists, genetic counselors, and geneticists.

Primary care providers for adults complete training in family medicine or internal medicine after medical school. Doctors with training in family medicine care for children, too. Some doctors with training in internal medicine get training in pediatrics as well so that they can see children.

Pediatricians: Primary Care Providers for Your Children

Pediatricians are primary care providers who take care of infants and children. They give information to new and experienced parents. The first test that most babies have is newborn screening. New parents may want to talk to their pediatrician about their baby’s newborn screening results. Parents can learn more about newborn screening even before their baby is born at Baby’s First Test.

Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s health. This includes your child’s family history. This will help your pediatrician understand your child’s risk for certain diseases.