This week’s Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features the Million Veteran Program (MVP), which is a national, voluntary research program to learn about how genes, lifestyle and military exposures affect health and illness and improve health care for Veterans.

Sumitra Muralidhar, Ph.D. is the program director under VA’s Office of Research and Development. Dr. Sumitra is motivated to help Veterans by overseeing the policy and infrastructure development for the collection and use of samples and genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure data from one million Veterans. Since the program’s inception in 2011, 870,000 Veterans have enrolled and partnered with MVP.

The Million Veteran Program is the world’s largest health care system-based research program on genetics, lifestyle, military exposure and health, with the goal of providing precision health care to Veterans and the population at large. Dr. Sumitra provides overall direction and management of the national program across sixty-plus VA medical centers, more than 70 community-based outpatient clinics; she also oversees operational leadership, coordination, implementation and oversight of all aspects of the program’s development and implementation, including policy development, fiscal management, regulatory affairs, public relations and scientific direction.

Precision medicine is an innovative approach that has the potential to cure cancers, wipe out rare diseases, and improve the overall health of Veterans and even the general public. It’s changing the way we think about health care. With MVP, VA hopes to provide an invaluable tool for scientists to use in order to advance research and tailor disease prevention and treatment by taking into account the differences in an individual’s clinical, lifestyle and genetic information.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Dr. Sumitra answers these questions and more:

  • What motivates her to help Veterans at VA?
  • Why should Veterans enroll in the Million Veteran Program?
  • Why should Veteran’s trust MVP with their genetic information?
  • What studies are coming out of the program?
  • What is the overall purpose of MVP?
  • How VA can keep this genetic data safe through cloud databases?
  • How can Veterans sign up and participate in MVP?

Dr. Sumitra encourages Veterans from all backgrounds, races and ethnicities to sign up for the program, so it can really make a difference. It’s a legacy program, and it can revolutionize how health care is delivered for all other Veterans and even the general public.

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By Michaela Yesis is a podcast volunteer with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. She graduated from George Mason University with a BA in English.

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Published on Jun. 6, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 600

One Comment

  1. Thomas Libby June 8, 2022 at 10:57 pm

    I am strong and a carpenter, community organizer. hate war, Quaker minister.

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