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Erie VA Medical Center


Million Veteran Program Pittsburgh Research Team Returns to Erie VAMC

July 5, 2017

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07/05/2017 (Erie, PA) – Over the past five years, nearly 10,000 Western Pennsylvania Veterans have signed on to be a part of the Million Veteran Program (MVP). Once again, Erie Veterans will have the opportunity to learn about and volunteer to join the program.  Researchers will be at the Erie VAMC in the Mobile Vet Center located outside the 2nd floor entrance on Friday, August 25 from 11am-2pm

MVP is the world's largest database of health and genomic information, with more than 560,000 U.S. Veterans included nationally. It links genetic, clinical, lifestyle, and military-exposure information to help researchers learn about the role of genes in health and disease.  MVP collects genetic and health information to help lead to new ways of preventing and treating illness.  MVP will provide a better understanding of how genes affect health and illness, with the goal of improving health care for Veterans.

Sign up is quick and voluntary.

"The initial DNA collection and survey takes about 20 minutes. It's completely voluntary and your information is coded for protection," said Beatrice Chakraborty, MVP coordinator at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.  "What's great is that even though we haven't reached one million Veterans nationally, there are already studies underway using MVP data.  And with so many Veterans concentrated in Western Pennsylvania, we feel it's important that they be represented in current and future studies using the data."

In one study, VA researchers in Philadelphia and Connecticut are using MVP data to identify genetic risk factors for chronic use of alcohol, tobacco and opioids - and use of all three together. Previous studies were limited by the small size of available samples.  MVP's database of ultimately one million Veterans provides a unique opportunity to support such gene discovery. 

In another study, an examination is underway to see which genes influence post-traumatic stress disorder in some, but not other, combat Veterans. VA Researchers in San Diego and West Haven, Connecticut, believe this may lead to better treatments, and even preventive steps. 

Veterans can call 1-866-441-6075 or visit to learn more about MVP.