VA’s Million Veterans Program Seeks to Enroll More Female Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently launched efforts to increase female veteran participation in its Million Veteran Program (MVP). One of the largest genetic research programs in the world, MVP collects information about the genetics, military exposure, lifestyle and health of veterans who volunteer to donate DNA samples.
As the number of female veterans grows, so does the need for genetic research focused on women’s health issues.
“While there are approximately 2 million living female veterans, only 75,000 are currently enrolled in MVP, representing only 9% of the MVP cohort,” said the VA Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and intergovernmental, Kayla Williams, in a March press release. “If more female veterans consider joining, VA researchers would have a larger gene pool to study women’s health in more detail and provide women with the specialized care they need and deserve. ”
Currently, MVP is researching genetic and clinical markers that can predict the risk of breast cancer in female veterans. An increased number of participants could expand research to include treatments and prevention for conditions like depression, hypertension, heart disease and more.
In 2017, the American Legion encouraged veterans to enroll in MVP, helping push the program past 580,000 samples. Over 830,000 veterans have joined the program to date.