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19,000 Veterans Join MVP Through VA Pittsburgh

Million Veteran Program

Major milestone achieved in groundbreaking Million Veteran Program.

Have you heard? VA in November officially reached 1 million Veteran enrollees in its Million Veteran Program (MVP). The historic number includes 19,000 Veterans who joined through VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS).

MVP launched in 2011 as a genetic research program and is now the largest such program of its kind in the world. VAPHS has participated in MVP from the start, enrolling its 19,000th Veteran in December 2023.

Bea Chakraborty, VAPHS’s MVP research coordinator, said the 19,000 enrollees include Veterans from southwestern Pennsylvania, Erie, Butler, Altoona, and Belmont County in Ohio.

“We’ve even had some Veterans from as far as Clarksburg, West Virginia, and Cumberland, Maryland,” she said.

VAPHS is one of 19 sites to have enrolled “such a phenomenal number of participants,” said Anicka Samuel, MVP’s national program coordinator, in an email announcing the milestone. Over 70 VA sites participate in MVP.

VA’s Under Secretary for Health, Shereef Elnahal, said in a video message the 1 million enrollees’ achievement demonstrates Veterans’ unwavering commitment to contribute to the greater good.

“But it’s not just about the numbers,” he said. “It’s about the tremendous impact this program has on the lives of Veterans and, indeed, all Americans.”

Thanks to MVP, Veterans have directly contributed to over 350 peer reviewed publications.

Because many Veterans visit VAPHS’s main campuses only when necessary, Chakraborty said her team has traveled all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states to enroll Veterans. 

“They’re out there, they’re just too far and too remote,” said Chakraborty. “Our population is a little older and tends not to travel as much.” 

VAPHS’s MVP staff visited Wheeling, West Virginia, Butler and Erie during fiscal year 2023. 

Chakraborty says there are still areas to visit with Veterans who want to enroll. Some 200 Veterans in the Johnstown area and 100 near Clarksburg and Morgantown, West Virginia, have expressed an interest in joining. Efforts are underway to secure sites in those areas for MVP to visit.

 What’s next? 

VA and VAPHS will continue enrolling Veterans in MVP, with a new focus on increasing enrollment among underrepresented communities.

“Our next goal is to ensure that MVP offers medical insights for every Veteran from every background, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, geography or health condition,” said Elnahal.

Chakraborty said VAPHS’s team will continue visiting Veterans in their communities.

“We plan to visit more places,” said Chakraborty. “Clarksburg, Belmont, Johnstown for sure.”

How to join?

Any Veteran – enrolled in VA health care or not – can join MVP. To learn how, stop by VAPHS’s MVP offices at University Drive in Bldg. 1, Room 1N105B, or at the H.J. Heinz III campus in Bldg. 71, 2nd floor, Pod 1; call 866-441-6075; or visit MVP

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