Million Veteran Program: A mega-biobank to study genetic influences on health and disease

J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 Feb;70:214-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.09.016. Epub 2015 Oct 9.


Objective: To describe the design and ongoing conduct of the Million Veteran Program (MVP), as an observational cohort study and mega-biobank in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system.

Study design and setting: Data are being collected from participants using questionnaires, the VA electronic health record, and a blood sample for genomic and other testing. Several ongoing projects are linked to MVP, both as peer-reviewed research studies and as activities to help develop an infrastructure for future, broad-based research uses.

Results: Formal planning for MVP commenced in 2009; the protocol was approved in 2010, and enrollment began in 2011. As of August 3, 2015, and with a steady state of ≈50 recruiting sites nationwide, N = 397,104 veterans have been enrolled. Among N = 199,348 with currently available genotyping data, most participants (as expected) are male (92.0%) between the ages of 50 and 69 years (55.0%). On the basis of self-reported race, white (77.2%) and African American (13.5%) populations are well represented.

Conclusions: By helping to promote the future integration of genetic testing in health care delivery, including clinical decision making, the MVP is designed to contribute to the development of precision medicine.

Keywords: Cohort studies; Exome sequencing; Genomics; Genotyping; Veterans; Whole-genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks / organization & administration*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Research Design*
  • Sequence Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*