Philadelphia VAMC Participates in Million Veteran - Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VAMC
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Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VAMC

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Philadelphia VAMC Participates in Million Veteran

group photo of researchers

Mary Valiga, Research Coordinator, Dr. Kyong-MI Chang, Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development, Dr. Darshana Jhala, MD, Interim Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Services, Suat-Eng Ter, MD, Research Assistant.

By Mary Dillinger
Friday, September 27, 2013

Philadelphia VA Medical Center participates in unprecedented VA research program to advance disease screening, diagnosis and prognosis, pointing the way toward more effective, personalized therapies. With 40,000 genes packed into a single cell, changes to genes are like spelling mistakes in an instruction manual: some mistakes can be more harmful than others and some cause more serious health problems than others.  Yet if scientists compare any two individuals’ genes, they’ll see that those genes are 99 percent identical. Small changes within our genes give us our unique physical appearance and influence our unique responses to medical treatments. To understand how these small changes impact our health, researchers need to study the genes of large groups of people, and then to conduct comparisons to learn which genes are linked to which health traits.

Frederick (Craig) Hilliard, Army Veteran

Frederick (Craig) Hilliard, Army Veteran

The Million Veteran Program is a trailblazing Veterans Affairs effort involving 50 VA medical facilities throughout the country to consolidate genetic, military exposure, health, and lifestyle information together in one single database. The database will be used by authorized researchers with VA, other federal health agencies, and academic institutions within the U.S., in a secure manner, to conduct health and wellness studies to determine which genetic variations are associated with particular health and wellness issues. By identifying gene-health connections, the program could consequentially advance disease screening, diagnosis, and prognosis to point the way toward more effective, personalized therapies.
Launched in January 2011, MVP is expanding to achieve the goal of national voluntary participation by Veterans receiving VA care over the next five years. The Philadelphia VA Medical Center began recruiting area Veterans for the study on May 1, 2013. Those Veterans interested in participating should visit the Philadelphia VAMC MVP Office, located on the 3rd floor past the Multipurpose Room in Room 3B150 on the LEFT at the end of the hall, or call the MVP Information Center toll free 866-441-6075.
For more information about MVP nationally, including the safeguards in place to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those Veterans who take part, visit


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