The million veterans program for VA research is not just an attractive name for research projects in the next five to seven years. Through the Million Veterans Program, we hope to recruit up to 1 million volunteer senior research participants and take part in this journey at the DC VA Medical Center.
Once there was a veteran, a million veterans program could go a long way, because we had so much electronic information. We have the electronic medical records of so many veterans in the million veterans program that we can follow over time, veterans, and see who develops service side effects, who develops certain intolerant drugs to determine that treatment is based on personal genetics. It is called personalized medicine, and is the cornerstone of VA’s research on millions of veterans.
MVP focuses on working with veterans to receive care in their health care system to study how genes affect health. The Air Force was where I grew up, so I did everything myself, and I loved it. Through this study, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. VA health care has always been very good to me, especially when I had nowhere to go. I heard about the procedure from my doctor and he asked me if I was interested in participating in research that would help other veterans.
They drew my blood, and they studied genetic factors – any diseases I might have. Well, I will help anyone who has any help for bipolar disorder or anyone else. The great thing about MVP is that we can identify people with all the diseases that affect the general population.
Therefore, we are studying everything from diabetes to hypertension to various types of cancer and mental illness, bipolar disorder in schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, which have a great impact on public health. All these diseases will be reflected in the Million Retirement Program, and more and more personalized medicine is becoming what we call genomic medicine.
We want to collect individual genetic information, their genetic code, to try to use this information to customize treatment, especially for those who are most likely to have better opportunities and fewer side effects.
We are participating because we are helping hundreds of veterans who are not overseas and who conquer soldiers in this position. I would say to other veterans who are considering MVP that this is a good plan, because all the research is now trying to help find almost any treatment.
If you are a veteran receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration and want to be part of the transformation of health care in the 21st century, please visit the Million Veterans Program website or call 866 441 6075.