The GEPEFES, led by professor Mara Regina Santos da Silva, gathers researchers, professionals and students to share experiences and resources and to produce knowledge about the health-disease processes of families in their environmental context. It uses qualitative and quantitative approaches in a complementary way for the scientific and technological advancement of the interdisciplinary study of families. It pursues the development of technologies for health promotion and human development. These efforts are especially directed toward families who are psychosocially at-risk. It also instrumentalizes professionals to promote family health in the context in which the families live. It strengthens the interface between care practice and research practice through university teaching at the graduate and post-graduate levels. In the post-graduate nursing program at FURG, it has developed a course called "Advanced Studies in the Family" and contributes to the mentoring of master’s and Ph.D. students.

Its research projects prioritize resilience and are financed by national and international agencies.

It organized the “Families in Risky Situations” international symposium in November 2004 in Rio Grande, RS. GEPEFES’s international relationships include joint research conducted with the Centre d’Études Interdisciplinairessur le Développement de l’Enfant et la Famille (CEIDEF). This research is a realization of the International Cooperation Agreement between FURG and the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in 2004 and the International Cooperation Agreement made in 2005 between FURG and the Université du Québec en Outaouais.

Nationally, GEPEFES collaborates with the Group for Care Research and Family Teaching (GAPEFAN), a partnership that has produced two books related to the health of families.

The group’s research lines include the promotion of family health through resilience and the advancement of knowledge about the family health-disease process; the construction, through interdisciplinary projects, of knowledge about the health of families in their natural context; and the development of assessment and intervention technologies focused on promoting family health.