Nevada expands genetic population health study

The Healthy Nevada Project — a population health study that combines genetic, clinical, environmental and social data — is offering free genetic testing to 25,000 residents of Las Vegas.

The project was launched in September 2016 by Reno, Nev.-based Renown Health and Desert Research Institute, which studies the effects of environmental change. The initial launch was met with huge interest: 10,000 people signed up for DNA testing in just 48 hours. The second phase of the study began in March 2018, when Healthy Nevada Project and its partner, Helix, offered full genomic sequencing to residents in the northern part of the state. The project has enrolled more than 35,000 people in the past two and a half years.

The latest phase of the project brings testing to another part of the state and to another 25,000 residents through a partnership with the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. The goal of the project is to offer every resident of Nevada genetic testing and to combine this information with environmental data and data on socioeconomic determinants of health to address health issues at the population level.

"Nevada was ripe to advance population health goals because, sadly, our state ranks near the bottom in health outcomes. The Healthy Nevada Project is working to change that," Anthony Slonim, MD, president and CEO of Renown Health and president of Renown IHI, said in a press release.

"Our researchers are working on a number of clinical programs and scientific studies to determine why in Washoe County, the county in which Renown Health is located, Nevada's age-adjusted death rates for heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease are 33 percent higher than the national rate. Imagine if we can gather more data like this on a national scale and use it to change the future of health and health care? That is what the Healthy USA Project is looking to do in the years to come."


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