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Kaiser Permanente Research Bank Improves Future of Health

The information carried within your DNA has the potential to change the future of health. You have the ability to help researchers better understand health and disease, and allow communities to live healthier lives. The Kaiser Permanente (KP) Research Bank program is a national biobank that invites all adult KP members to share their health information to support the advancement of medical research. Participants are invited to share their de-identified health data and a small blood sample for research on how genes and factors such as environments, lifestyles, and habits are all linked to specific health problems.

The program does not focus on a specific health area, but rather supports scientific investigation into a wide variety of health conditions. Often, it is difficult to study rare or complex diseases due to the lack of research volunteers. The KP Research Bank hopes to overcome this by creating a 500,000-member strong resource for scientists to conduct research on rare diseases, as well as more common cases such as cancer, health issues in pregnancy, and chronic illnesses.

To make these discoveries about health, de-identified medical record data, surveys, and genetic information must first be shared by volunteers. Participating in the program is easy, fast, and consists of (1) filling out and signing the consent form online, (2) answering a brief survey, and (3) donating a small blood sample at any KP clinic. All information volunteers share with the KP Research Bank will be de-identified and secured. This means that all personal information including your name, address, and phone number will be removed and replaced with an identification number. The KP Research Bank will only provide the minimum information necessary for scientists to complete their study.

Since every person is unique and responds to diseases in different ways, it takes thousands of blood samples to figure out what factors contribute to health issues. Researchers need information from several different types of people across the entire population. This includes those who are healthy and those who are not, and people of all ages and backgrounds. Any group of individuals can help researchers understand disease and improve health care for everyone. To hear from members who have joined the KP Research Bank, visit the KP Research Bank YouTube page here.

As a participant of the program, KP members may be able to help scientists discover innovative ways to prevent, find, and treat health conditions. The future of health starts with you. To participate or learn more about the KP Research Bank program, visit their website here.

Here at the Center for Total Health: The Center for Total Health showcases many exhibits about research and other topics dedicated to improving total health around the world. If you would like to schedule a guided tour of the Center for Total Health, please complete the request form.

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