Nevada expands genetic population health program to 25,000 more participants
In a recent press release, the Healthy Nevada Project, a community-based population health study, announced it is expanding its enrollment, adding 25,000 testing slots in southern Nevada. The project combines genetic, clinical, environmental, and social data to advance population health goals and improve health outcomes of Nevada residents.
Approximately 35,000 residents from elsewhere in Nevada have already participated in the study. The study volunteers are given a DNA saliva test and then given a follow-up health survey from Renown Institute for Health Innovation (IHI), a collaboration between the Renown Health network and the Desert Research Institute. Participants can agree to be notified about genetic test results that may have an impact on their health.
The project began in 2016, offering northern Nevada residents free DNA testing. In March 2018, the project expanded to include full genomic sequencing using Helix’s Next Generation Sequencing technology. In October 2018, the project offered clinical results, notifying consenting participants of risk for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tier 1 conditions like familial hypercholesterolemia, BRCA positive 1 and 2 (linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers), and Lynch syndrome (a precursor to colon cancer).
In addition to those results, the program also provided guidance for treatment and additional testing for family members. Renown IHI also started a pilot phase for advance calcium score screenings for participants at high risk for cardiovascular disease, which will allow researchers to study the link between calcium buildup in the heart and genetics.
By looking at underlying causes of common diseases, including genetics, the project hopes to better assess real risks and engage in research on health determinants, while also providing actionable information to participants.
The Health Nevada Project is the first state-wide project of its kind and hopes to expand into other health systems across the country. For more information, go to HealthNV.org.