About the Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health (RPGEH)
Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research launched the RPGEH in 2005 and initiated enrollment of participants from the Northern California region's three million Kaiser Permanente members in 2007. The research program has enrolled more than 188,000 members and plans to enroll a total of 500,000 Kaiser Permanente members by 2014, which will make it one of the largest and most diverse population-based biobanks in the world.
The RPGEH is designed to facilitate epidemiologic studies of both genetic and environmental influences on common health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma, mental health disorders, and many others. The building blocks of the RPGEH are:
genetic information from saliva or blood samples provided by RPGEH participants;
data collected from RPGEH participants through self-reported health surveys;
historical and ongoing clinical data on RPGEH participants from the Kaiser Permanente electronic health record; and
new environmental databases that will allow researchers to study the health effects of environmental factors such as air pollution and water quality as well as neighborhood characteristics, such as proximity to parks, grocery stores, and healthy foods.
Generous support for the RPGEH has come from the NIH, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation and The Ellison Medical Foundation. Kaiser Permanente has also provided financial support for the RPGEH.
Participation in the RPGEH is completely voluntary. All participants must provide written and informed consent and may withdraw from the program at any time.
All research conducted by the Division of Research and the RPGEH is designed to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of participants' personal information. Consistent with federal standards for human subjects research conducted at hospitals and universities throughout the United States, research conducted at Kaiser Permanente is reviewed and approved by our organization's institutional review board to assure that it is designed to maintain appropriate respect for individuals' safety, welfare, and rights as research participants.
The Division of Research maintains RPGEH information and databases confidentially with security controls. RPGEH data are separate from the Kaiser Permanente health plan and medical records. Information gathered by the RPGEH, including information derived from testing of members' DNA samples provided for research, will not be placed in a member's medical record or shared with health plan administration or insurance departments.
The RPGEH information and databases are used only for approved research and will never be used to set or increase health insurance premiums or make decisions on a member's health insurance coverage.
Kaiser Permanente does not sell or trade any genetic material or data gathered for the RPGEH for profit.
The UCSF Institute for Human Genetics serves as a focal point for campus-wide activities in human genetics and has faculty members engaged in human genetics research spanning the four schools: Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dentistry. The major aim of the Institute is to create an exciting, productive and collaborative environment for research and training in human genetics, and to provide institutional support and resources, such as the Genomics Core Facilities, for faculty research and for teaching in a number of UCSF graduate and medical school programs. For more information, go to www.humgen.medschool.ucsf.edu.
The University of California, San Francisco is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. Please visit www.ucsf.edu.
About the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes, and disseminates epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical care of Kaiser Permanente members and the society at large. It seeks to understand the determinants of illness and well-being and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, the Division of Research's 500-plus staff members are working on more than 250 epidemiological and health services research projects. For more information, go to www.dor.kaiser.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 to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.8 million members in nine 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: www.kp.org/newscenter.