For Healthcare Providers
What is the purpose of the Million Veteran Program?
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development is launching the Million Veteran Program (MVP), an important partnership between VA and Veterans. The goal of MVP is to better understand how genes affect health and illness in order to improve health care for Veterans.
Why should this research be conducted at the VA?
The VA is an ideal setting for a large-scale genomic and health research initiative. The VA Office of Research and Development has developed the infrastructure to enable such a program to take place, including a national laboratory with high throughput DNA extraction capability. Such advances have positioned the VA as a leader in large-scale, well-characterized genomic and health research. This process will establish a standard within the VA for recruiting Veterans for genetic research and banking studies. The advantage to creating a large cohort for genetic research within the VA healthcare system enables researchers to couple Veterans with historical health data, and allows low-cost follow-up through the vast VA health data infrastructure. Changes in health status of Veterans can be characterized longitudinally by linking with electronic data sources within and beyond the VA healthcare system (e.g. data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to further enhance the value of the collected and stored genetic samples. This extends the value of the genetic information from this enterprise well into the future.
What are the potential outcomes of MVP?
The MVP cohort will enable researchers to capitalize on the wealth of available genetic samples from ongoing or closed out research efforts during which samples appropriate for DNA analysis are collected. Anticipated studies that may use such a large well-characterized cohort include: investigations of gene-environment (lifestyle) interactions, genome-wide associations, pharmacogenomics, and nutrigenomics. Ultimately, this will result in better ways to prevent, detect, and treat disease.
What is involved in participation?
The goal of MVP is to partner with Veterans receiving services in the VA health care system who volunteer to share their health information, as well as genetic material.
Active involvement in this program includes:
- Filling out surveys about health and health-related
- 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.
What confidentiality and privacy protections are in place?
Patient safety and information security are the top priorities in MVP and all VA research initiatives. A number of safeguards are in place to help ensure privacy and confidentiality for those who take part.
- All blood samples will be stored in a secure, state-of-the art VA biorepository.
- All blood samples and medical and other personal
information will be labeled with a code so that no
one can directly identify participants. Only a small number of authorized VA employees will have access to the key for the code.
- Researchers who are approved access to analyze samples and data will not receive name, date of birth, address, or social security number of participating Veterans.
For more information, contact the MVP Information Center toll-free at 866-441-6075.