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MVP hits new milestone

(From Left to Right) Teresa Mitchell, Courtney Harrington, Dana Rosson and Mark Hamner, MD, hand out free popcorn and lemonade to staff and visitors to celebrate their latest Million Veteran Program milestone. Photo by Scott Pauley.
(From Left to Right) Teresa Mitchell, Courtney Harrington, Dana Rosson and Mark Hamner, MD, hand out free popcorn and lemonade to staff and visitors to celebrate their latest Million Veteran Program milestone. Photo by Scott Pauley.

On Dec. 7, The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) added some extra cheer to the facility’s monthly Food Truck Friday event – a band, free popcorn and lemonade – in celebration of the research program’s recent success of enrolling more than 10,000 Veterans.

MVP is a national, voluntary research program initiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011 and it is one of the largest studies of genes and health in the United States. The overall goal is to improve health care for all Veterans. This is done through safely collecting blood samples and health information. This research program has already become one of the largest databases of genes and health history with more than 700,000 Veterans already enrolled nationally.

“Congratulations to our MVP team on their 10,000th participant,” said Charleston VAMC Chief of Research Dr. Amanda LaRue to kick off the celebration remarks. “We are one of 55 VA’s selected across the nation to serve as an enrollment site for MVP and our local program is doing incredible.”

Charleston VAMC is one of the alpha sites for MVP, starting its program in 2011. The medical center was involved in one of the first studies that investigated the relationship between genes and cognitive function in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Charleston VAMC supports the MVP program and its significance to research for Veteran patients.

Another early and ongoing study at Charleston VA investigates the relationship between genes and risk factors for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study, along with many others in progress, will continue to bring benefits to Veterans across the nation.

During the celebration, Dr. Mark Hamner, who coordinates the local effort along with Dana Rosson and Courtney Harrington, presented four Charleston VA staff members with certificates of appreciation for their help in getting Veterans enrolled: Gertrude Green, LaSandra Jennings, Mona Jones and Lisa Brown.

“We wouldn’t have this amount of success here in Charleston if we didn’t have the support of these staff members,” said Rosson. “We truly appreciate their help spreading the word about our program and directing Veterans to our area.”

Veterans wishing to enroll at Charleston VAMC can visit room DD148 located in the Mental Health Research Building by the West Entrance of the main facility, Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact the MVP Information Center at 1-866-441-6075 or visit http://www.research.va.gov/mvp.

Charleston VA’s MVP team is eager to have more Veterans enroll!

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