Family, Health and illness: the repetition in families


The course has as general objectives:

• To understand the importance of holistic approach in medicine, with emphasis on the family and particularly in the transgenerational transmission phenomenon of behavior and interaction patterns;
• To describe the social context and the organization of Primary Health Care in Portugal;
• Interview users of primary health care units in the context of the fieldwork and using a systemic focus.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Teresa Ventura


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





McWhinney IR, Freeman T. Textbook of Family Medicine .New York: Oxford University Press; 2009.

Alarcão M. (Des)Equilíbrios Familiares. Coimbra: Quarteto; 2006.

Rebelo L. Genograma familiar: o bisturi do médico de família. Revista Portuguesa de Clínica Geral 2007;309-17. Disponível em:

Ogden J. Psicologia da Saúde. Lisboa: Climepsi Editores; 2004.

Nunes J. Comunicação em Contexto Clínico. Lisboa; 2010. Disponível em:

Teaching method

Due to constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the curricular unit will be implemented through blended learning, relying heavily on distance learning methods. Attempts will be made to maintain that field work takes place in person, in Primary Health Care Units. If the epidemiological situation does not allow it, the work will be reformulated so that it can be carried out remotely, similar to what happened in the academic year 2019-2020.

In the CU we used the following educational strategies and teaching methods:
Lectures (Zoom Cloud Meetings)
Field observation in primary care practices (alternative in a pandemic context: elaborating a person's genogram of the student's social context; individual work rather than group work)
Patient interviews (alternative in a pandemic context: telephone interviews instead of face-to-face interviews; individual work rather than group work)
Interviews reports
Group discussion (Zoom Cloud Meetings)
Critical reflection

Evaluation method

The approval in the CU implies the accomplishment of the fieldwork projects.
Assessment will consist in two components:

A. Component 1 (corresponds to 75% of the final)

Student will do a portfolio, during the learning process that will be object of analysis and classification according to explicit criteria. This portfolio should include:
The motivation for choosing this optional course and the expectations they had at the moment of option;
Concepts transmitted in lectures that student believes will shape his/her exercise (seven concepts in seven sentences, one sentence per concept);
Written report for each fieldwork project;
Critical analysis of the stage (gain with training, analysing them in conjunction with the initial expectations, identification of difficulties during the process of learning/teaching and its resolution; comments relevant to the assessment of teaching).
The portfolio should be sent electronically, in PDF format, to the Department of General and Family Medicine until the 24 hours of June 13, 2021. Non-compliance with the deadline may imply non-approval in the curricular unit.

B. Component 2 (corresponds to 25% of the final)

One test with 40 multiple choice questions.
Test of the first season: June 25, 2021;
Test of the second season: July 9, 2021;
Special season test (students with special status): July 30, 2021.

In the case of applications for evaluation to improve the classification, this will be based only on oral test.

Subject matter

The syllabus is the following:
- Social context and care organization. Primary Health Care in Portugal.
- Holistic approach. General systems theory.
- Family concepts and family types.
- Genogram. Definition, building, display and interpretation. Heredity and transmission behavior.
- Family transmission of concepts and value of health and disease, beliefs about health and disease, patterns of interaction within and outside the family, pattern of service utilization by family members. Family narratives. Social support.
- Revolutions in health. Disease behaviors. Health education. Theoretical framework theories of health education activities. Principles of motivational interventions. Principles of healthy eating. Psychosocial factors affecting feeding patterns. Surveys on eating habits in the subject interviewed and his family. Nutrition-related diseases.


Programs where the course is taught: