Veteran Connection: Future of medicine is in your genes

The Million Veteran Program (MVP) is re-open for in-person recruitment and enrollment at the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System.

MVP is a national research program that studies how differences in genes, lifestyle and military experiences affect veterans' health and illnesses.

The goal of the program is to one day give veterans specialized care with targeted treatments and preventions based on their genetics and medical history.

“Veterans are a very diverse group coming from all backgrounds, ethnicities and regions,” said Shawna Lacey-Tucker, MVP research coordinator. “MVP provides an extremely rich source of information. Every veteran that participates is contributing to a wealth of knowledge that will be used for decades to better understand human genetics, lifestyles, and exposures. That information can then be used to create more effective treatments and better screening for prevention.”

Since 2011, nearly 840,000 veteran partners have joined MVP, helping researchers better understand the genetics of disease in veterans.

By collecting DNA from as many veterans a possible, along with information on their health, lifestyle and military experiences, researchers are beginning to answer important questions like:

• Why does a certain treatment work well for some veterans but not others?

• Why are some veterans at greater risk for developing an illness?

• How can we prevent certain illnesses in the first place?

If more women and diverse populations enroll, MVP researchers can discover new medical breakthroughs that work for all veterans.

To join MVP, you’ll be asked to:

• Complete a consent process online at mvp.va.gov or in person at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center by calling 1-866-441-6075 to make an appointment. Please note that due to COVID-19, the Tulsa MVP office is not open. However, it is anticipated to be opening again soon. Those who wish to participate, but do not receive care at Jack C. Montgomery VAMC, can still enroll through mvp.va.gov.

• Allow access to your health records.

• Provide a one-time blood sample for genetic analysis.

• Fill out occasional surveys about your health and lifestyle.

Once enrolled, you may be contacted on a periodic basis if additional information is requested or if there is a research opportunity you may want to consider. You will also receive newsletters about the program at least once a year with updates on research findings and other topics of interest.

“The feedback I have encountered when speaking to veterans has been positive and hopeful,” said Lacey-Tucker. “They are happy to participate in the pursuit for better health care for themselves, their children and grandchildren.”

For more questions about MVP, explore their FAQs at mvp.va.gov or speak with a staff member at 866-441-6075.

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