Kaiser Permanente Recruits Northwest Members to Join National Research Bank

All adult Kaiser Permanente members will be invited to provide genetic data to help researchers improve disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention for future generations

PORTLAND, OREGON June 27, 2016 – Kaiser Permanente is recruiting members in the Northwest to participate in the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank, a long-term research resource designed to help the organization better understand how people’s health is affected by their genes, behaviors, and the environment. All Kaiser Permanente members who are 18 and older will be eligible to participate in the research bank.

The KP Research Bank allows researchers to use DNA and other health information voluntarily provided by a diverse cross-section of Kaiser Permanente members to study how genetic and environmental factors affect health, and look for new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent certain diseases. For instance, the resource will allow researchers to study whether a person’s DNA influences how they respond to certain hypertension drugs, or how genetic and environmental factors influence such diseases as diabetes and cancer.

Kaiser Permanente has set a goal to recruit 20,000 to 30,000 members in the Northwest region, and 500,000 participants from all seven Kaiser Permanente regions throughout the country. This would make the KP Research Bank one of the world’s largest and most diverse repositories of genetic, environmental, and health data. To date, more than 220,000 members from four geographic regions have participated in biobanking efforts.

The KP Research Bank also has the potential to bring important knowledge to communities that have some of the poorest health outcomes in terms of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. For this reason, Kaiser Permanente is encouraging Kaiser Permanente members of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds to consider participating.

“Kaiser Permanente has a long history of conducting innovative, translational research that benefits the health of our members and the communities we serve,” said Karen Emmons, PhD, vice president of Kaiser Permanente Research. “The KP Research Bank, which should reflect our richly diverse membership, could lead to breakthroughs in ways to prevent or treat diseases and may in the future provide patients with health care based on their individual DNA, environmental, and behavioral information.”

“One of the ways the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank is unique from other efforts is that in addition to DNA samples, we ask our participants about behavioral and environmental factors,” said Sheila Weinmann, PhD, investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and scientific lead in the Northwest for KP Research Bank. “That means we’re able to connect this information with data from the patient’s electronic medical record, which could allow us to make discoveries that just aren’t possible with other research resources.”

Environmental and behavioral factors that may have bearing on health include exposure to second-hand smoke, neighborhood violence, household financial security, access to fresh food, and proximity to sources of air, water or noise pollution.

All Kaiser Permanente members who volunteer to participate will be asked to fill out a consent form granting access to their medical record, complete a brief health survey, and provide a blood sample. Participants’ information will be kept private, secure, and confidential and participation will not affect health care coverage or become part of their medical record.

To find out more information about the KP Research Bank and to enroll in the program, Kaiser Permanente members can go to kp.org/researchbank.

About the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, founded in 1964, is a nonprofit research institution dedicated to advancing knowledge to improve health. It has research sites in Portland, Ore., and Honolulu. Find out more at www.kpchr.org.

About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

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