Army Veteran Lucius Huffman provides his blood sample for genetic analysis to MVP Representative “Vicki” Zhifang Zhao. “I feel great about participating in this research program and helping other fellow Veterans,” said Huffman. “It’s a good thing and I am glad to help.”
Monday, September 16, 2013
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) reached the milestone of enrolling 10,000 participants in the Million Veteran Program (MVP): A Partnership with Veterans, and is leading the nation in enrollment efforts. The MEDVAMC is one of 50 VA medical centers serving as an enrollment site for this national, voluntary research program conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research & Development. The knowledge gained will help better understand how genes affect Veterans’ health and illness, with the ultimate goal of transforming health care.
Army Veteran Lucius Huffman, was not showered with balloons and confetti when he was told he was the 10,000th Veteran to enroll from the Houston area, but the Houston MVP staff did thank him with an “MVP” lapel pin and presented him with a certificate of appreciation signed by the MEDVAMC director.
“I feel great about participating in this research program and helping other fellow Veterans,” said Huffman. “It’s a good thing and I am glad to help.”
This was Huffman’s first time to participate in any type of research program. He woke up at 4:45 a.m. and drove from Lafayette, LA to Houston for an appointment and just decided to participate.
“I just happen to be lucky today,” said Huffman on being the 10,000th participant.
“MVP is a truly historic effort, in terms of both VA research and medical research in general,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., MEDVAMC director. “Veterans nationwide are helping to create a database that has the potential to help millions around the country – Veteran and non-Veteran alike. They are continuing to serve the nation well beyond the time they stopped wearing the uniform.”
Army Veteran Lucius Huffman with Houston MVP Team – From Left to Right: “Vicki” Zhifang Zhao; Rayan Al Jurdi, M.D; Lucius Huffman; Laura Marsh, M.D.; Maxwell Stewart; and Emily Boeckman
The MEDVAMC is leading the nation as the top recruiting site for MVP. “The credit all goes back to an excellent mission-driven team, our very accommodating laboratory colleagues, prime care staff members and very supportive leadership locally and nationally,” said Rayan Al Jurdi, M.D., Local Site Investigator of MVP Houston.
MVP provides researchers with a rich resource of genetic, health, lifestyle, and military-exposure data collected from questionnaires, medical records, and genetic analyses. By combining this information into a single database, MVP promises to advance knowledge about the complex links between genes and health. Authorized researchers are able to use MVP data to help answer important questions on a wide range of health conditions affecting Veterans, from military-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, to common chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Participants are asked to complete a one-time study visit (approximately 20 minutes in length) to provide a blood sample for genetic analysis. Participation also includes filling out health surveys, allowing on-going access to medical records, and agreeing to future contact. Veteran participation does not affect access to VA health care or benefits.
Up to a million Veterans are expected to enroll in the VA study over the next five years. Veterans’ privacy and confidentiality are top priorities in MVP, as in all VA research. Data and genetic samples collected through the study are stored securely and made available for studies by authorized researchers, with stringent safeguards in place to protect Veterans’ private health information.
Visit the website of the Million Veteran Program at www.research.va.gov/mvp
to learn more. For more information or to participate, call the MVP information center toll-free 1-866-441-6075.