More than a year after launching a groundbreaking population study, Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute are expanding the Healthy Nevada Project to include 40,000 more people! "When you think that we're going to have genetic, clinical, social and environmental information that could impact 10-percent of our entire population in Northern Nevada - that's huge," shares Renown Health President and CEO, Dr. Anthony Slonim.

Renown Institute for Health Innovation and DRI have partnered with personal genomics company, Helix for phase two of the project which will use Helix's Next Generation Sequencing technology. Dr. Slonim says the state-of-the-art technology will grow the research results like we have not seen before. Researchers will couple the secure data collected with environmental research to learn more about health trends and identify public health risks - ranging from disease to the effects of environmental factors - like air quality in our community.

As for the participants, you will get a deeper understanding of your DNA and potential health risks. Helix also offers apps to help you better understand your results and help you improve a specific health concern. Dr. Slonim calls it a proactive approach to health care. "To drive health at the community level,” he explains. “From 5,000 to 10,000 and now 50,000 and what might we learn about our community's health and disease patterns that we can address through specific programming that we need to develop."

As for what we've learned from the first round of testing, Dr. Slonim says cardiovascular disease deaths are higher here in our region than in other parts of the country and the population study is helping to identify specific risks. The first reports will be announced to the public in several weeks. Enrollment for phase two is scheduled for the spring when 40,000 free DNA kits will be handed out. To learn more about the Healthy Nevada Project, log on to www.healthynv.org