VA to increase participation of women Veterans in genetic research to aid in improving women’s health

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WASHINGTON —On this first day of Women’s History Month, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched efforts to increase women Veteran participation in VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) to aid in genetic research focused on women health issues.

MVP is currently researching genetic and clinical markers to predict breast cancer risk in women Veterans.

“While there are roughly 2 million living women Veterans, only 75,000 are currently enrolled in MVP representing only 9% of the MVP cohort,” said VA Assistant Secretary Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Kayla Williams, who is also an MVP participant. “If more women Veterans consider joining, VA researchers would have a larger gene pool to be able to study women’s health in greater detail and offer women the specialized care they need and deserve.”

With increased participation, research could focus on investigating treatments and preventions of diseases that affect women Veterans including depression, hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis and others. 

Since 2011 more than 830,000 Veterans have joined MVP, allowing researchers to learn how differences in genes, lifestyle and military experiences affect Veterans’ health and illnesses.

Participation in MVP is entirely voluntary and Veterans go through an informed consent process to ensure MVP is right for them.

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