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VA San Diego Healthcare System

 

Million Veteran Program launches in San Diego

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VA staff assisting a Veteran

Veteran Robert Lewis, right, talks with San Diego research coordinator Neil Johnson about the Million Veteran Program launched locally on Nov. 9. The program, currently active in 40 other VA sites, aims to collect a million blood samples from Veterans nationwide to aid in future health research studies. Photo by Christopher Menzie.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

VA San Diego Healthcare System has begun enrolling patients for the nationwide Million Veteran Program (MVP).

The five-year program aims to gather genetic information from Veterans around the country that will aid in the future studies on the prevention and treatment of illnesses in all Americans.

“This study requires very little from a Veteran while giving researchers an exciting amount of data to work with,” said Neil Johnson, local research coordinator for the MVP program.

MVP aims to be one of the largest studies of genes and health in the United States with an expected enrollment of one million Veterans over the next five to seven years.  By gathering a large amount of DNA samples, along with personal and family health information, researchers will be able to compare genes to see which ones are linked with health traits.

“In the future, we’ll be able to narrow down how treatments can work on specific groups of Veterans versus other groups,” said Jason Vasquez, research assistant for the MVP.  “Overall, this study is paving the way for the improvement of Veteran healthcare.”

All Veterans are free to participate in this voluntary program.  Active involvement includes the following steps:

  • Filling out surveys about health and health-related behaviors;
  • Providing a blood sample (containing DNA and other substances) that will be stored for future research;
  • Completing an optional health assessment;
  • Allowing secure access to VA and VA-linked medical and health information, including past and future health records; and
  • Allowing future contact

Veterans can inquire about participating in the program with their health care provider at any VA San Diego community health clinic.  More information can also be found by visiting http://www.research.va.gov/mvp, or calling toll-free at 866-441-6075.