VA studies to tap into Million Veteran database

The Department of Veterans Affairs is funding four new studies that will tap into the national, voluntary research Million Veteran Program (MVP) which has enrolled more than 390,000 veterans to date.

As part of a data access beta test, the newly-funded studies will leverage the database of veterans receiving their care in the VA healthcare system. MVP is the nation's largest database linking genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure information.  

The goal is to ultimately enroll 1 million veterans in MVP’s genomic database which includes DNA specimens and links to tissue specimens, as well as access to the VA’s EHR system, an IT capability to identify patients for a variety of types of studies and analytical tools. 

The studies also will help establish new methods for securely linking MVP data with other sources of health information, including non-VA sources such as the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services.

The studies will target understudied African American and Hispanic veteran populations and address questions related to common chronic illnesses: cardiovascular risk factors, metabolic conditions, multi-substance use; and pharmacogenomics of kidney disease.

“There’s already been an impressive amount of data collected through MVP, and we’re continuing to engage more veterans in the program and building its research infrastructure through studies like these,” said Timothy O’ Leary, MD, PhD, VA’s chief research and development officer, in a release.

MVP-based studies on bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia already are underway.