Million Veteran Program (MVP) database: on the radio

So I was surprised this morning to wake up to a story about a giant DNA database on my local radio station. The story was about the MVP, Million Veterans Program, efforts to get the medical information and DNA samples for US military veterans.

When I saw the press release earlier this year, it sounded impressive. But like other large program announcements you don’t always know if it’s going to proceed quickly. Yet it seems they have 10,000 people already involved.

Program information can be found here, and here’s a sample of their goals:

MVP will establish one of the largest databases of genetic and health information to be used for future studies that may lead to new ways of preventing and treating illnesses in Veterans and all Americans.

The story on WBUR is here: Veterans To Create World’s Largest Medical Database . They interview a veteran that is participating because he wants to give back to his community, and describe the program a bit more. Since the VA has been storing computerized medical records for a couple of decades now, there’s a lot of opportunity to mine the records and make some real discoveries.

I was interested to note the primary concern of the recruits:

Staff members say the No. 1 concern they hear is privacy and whether the information will make its way to employers or insurers. That means reassuring thousands of veterans that the data cannot be connected with their names.

For some veterans the situation may be different from average Americans, though, since they will have some level of government-supported health care.

I’m glad to see some publicity for this program, it could provide really valuable information.