The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Million Veteran Program (MVP) is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s largest medical databases, after enrolling its 400, 000th veteran volunteer this month.
MVP collects genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure information so researchers can use it in approved studies in order to better understand the role of genes in health and disease, specifically among veterans and their families.
“We are proud to see the progress being made in MVP, and we are confident the knowledge gained through this research will have a very tangible and positive impact on the health care that Veterans and all Americans receive, ” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald in a press release. “We applaud our veterans participating in the program. The selfless sacrifice they are making will allow researchers to gain valuable, important information.”
Veterans who volunteer for MVP provide blood samples for DNA extraction and fill out surveys about their health, health-related behaviors and military experiences. They also authorize researchers to access information in their VA electronic health record and agree to being contacted for future research opportunities. All information provided to researchers will be kept secure; files will be labeled with codes that do not identify volunteers directly.
Studies using the data collected through MVP include heart and kidney disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse disorders and other mental health disorders. Veterans from all walks of life are contributing their DNA to help advance healthcare for their fellow veterans, servicemen and women, and their families.
“Sounded like a great, worthwhile program. If my participation can assist veterans, then I am pleased to participate, ” said Robert Bush, a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran, in a statement on the MVP website.
MVP is in operation at more than 50 VA medical centers nationwide and is already the largest database of its type in the United States. The program is a part of the Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama earlier this year. The initiative aims to tailor healthcare to individuals based on their genes and other factors.
Originally published on va.gov