Research continues to play a crucial role in the field of medicine, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for years and generations to come. It is, therefore, to mankind’s great advantage if health researchers and clinical scientists are provided with all the data that they need for their various studies.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hopes to make the yearning of many a researcher for a data repository that contains blood specimens, genetic information, and detailed medical histories for a large number of inividuals, through the Million Veteran Program.
The program will collect blood specimens from Veterans, which will become part of a database that contains Veterans’ electronic health records.
The VA is currently actively recruiting volunteers from among Veterans for the program, and has, thus far, signed up ten thousand volunteers. The program has health researchers excited, given the fact that the VA has two full decades’ worth of electronic health records. Once completed, this will become the largest medical database in the world.
Jennifer Hoblyn, MD, MPH, who specializes in mental illness at the Palo Alto VA, shared: “Not only do we have all their clinical records – laboratory, vital signs, pharmacy database – we have annual assessments that we will do that we can track people, assessments of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide screening, alcohol and substances, traumatic brain injury.”
The Million Veteran Program will contribute significantly to the advancement of personalized medicine and support clinical research, as it will provide researchers with the ability to observe genetic patterns across a large number of patients, as well as specimens for research purposes.