As a Millennium Cohort Study participant, the valuable survey information that you and other Service members have provided has been used by DoD leaders and policymakers to create strategies to protect the health and well-being of our Service members and Veterans.
You may have recently received a letter from our study team letting you know about a new research opportunity available to you from the VA Office of Research and Development for the Million Veteran Program (MVP).
MVP is a national, voluntary research program funded entirely by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research & Development. The goal of MVP is to partner with Veterans receiving their care in the VA Healthcare System to study how genes affect health.
By joining the Million Veteran Program you can help researchers better understand the role genes play in our health. For example, this research may help answer questions like "Why does a treatment work well for some Veterans but not for others?"; "Why are some Veterans at a greater risk for developing an illness?"; and "How can we prevent certain illnesses in the first place?" With the expected enrollment of one million Veterans over the next five to seven years, MVP aims to be one of the largest databases of its kind in the United States.
Veterans—and in fact all Americans—stand to benefit greatly as researchers learn more about the effects of our genes on health. The ways that doctors screen, diagnose, and treat certain illnesses—such as some forms of cancer—have already improved through knowledge about the effects of specific genes. MVP will lead to new knowledge about which genes put people at risk for certain diseases, and which ones affect how people respond to treatment. This knowledge may eventually lead to better treatments and preventive measures for many diseases, including common illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
By remaining involved in the Millennium Cohort Study and by joining the Million Veteran Program, you will help researchers identify previously unknown relationships between health conditions, genes, and military experiences. Only through this kind of research can we identify these links and hope to improve the quality of life for our Service members and Veterans.
If you have any further questions about the Million Veteran Program, please visit our frequently asked questions page.
Dennis Faix, CDR, MC, USN
On behalf of the Millennium Cohort Study Team