Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Veteran Program Launched

The Veterans Administration’s “Million Veteran Program (MVP): A Partnership with Veterans” is researching genetic traits according to an article that appeared in the VA New England Health Care System publication “Veterans Healthy Living.” Over the next five to seven years, MVP will reshape the field of genomics and will be one of the largest databases tracking genetic information with data on one million veterans.

The VA’s goal is to have more information on what causes illnesses by using the massive database to track specific genetic data. Data will be obtained on veterans on a voluntary basis and will include data on their military exposure, their lifestyle, blood samples, and veterans will need to provide their health information for assessment purposes. This means that veterans will need to allow access to all their VA and VA-linked medical and health information.

By collecting so much information on so many participants, VA researchers will have an unprecedented amount of data to compare and identify what genetic traits make veterans more susceptible to illnesses and what preventative measures should be taken. It may also help the VA understand why some veterans respond to a treatment while others do not which will eventually allow for more personalized treatments for veterans.

Confidentiality on priority information will be kept private and secure for the veterans participating. Although researchers will have access to the information, the name, address, date of birth, and social security number will not be available on the participants and all information will be coded to further protect privacy.

MVP was launched within the VA New England Healthcare System starting with the Boston VAHS in January 2011 with the launch of the Connecticut VAHS following and after those rollouts, the program will be launched nationally.

For more information, go to or call (866) 441-6075.