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House Science Committee Bill Enhances Veterans’ Services through Big Data

Jul 18, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved legislation today that authorizes collaborative research between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act (H.R. 6398) was introduced by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) to solve complex, big data challenges focused on veterans’ health care and basic science. 

Currently, DOE and the VA collaborate through the “Million Veterans Program–Computational Health Analytics for Medical Precision to Improve Outcomes Now,” or MVP-CHAMPION program. This partnership combines DOE’s secure, high performance computing capabilities with the VA’s broad data on genomic and health care data from veterans. 

This legislation authorizes the continuation of this important DOE-VA partnership, and allows use of DOE’s world-leading computing capability to provide the VA with data analysis to better understand various diseases and improve veterans’ quality of life. It also authorizes a two-year, $52 million DOE cross cutting pilot program to advance research in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and computational research. This pilot program will support DOE’s efforts to improve the analysis and interpretation of big data challenges to meet nuclear security, energy, and science mission goals.

Chairman Smith:

“The Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act leverages the power of cross-department cooperation. DOE’s high performance computing research facilities, data analysis, and complex modeling capabilities can significantly improve the healthcare available to our veterans. Access to large VA data sets will further enhance DOE’s computing capabilities. I applaud Rep. Norman for his leadership on this important partnership.”

Rep. Ralph Norman:

“I am proud to sponsor The Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act to help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide better treatment for our veterans. Through this partnership, the DOE will provide the technical capabilities, using its supercomputers, necessary to analyze the health data voluntarily given to the VA by veterans. The goal of this collaboration is to determine if there are patterns in care in order to lead to better treatment at the VA, gain a better understanding of risk factors for diseases, and determine better indicators for PTSD. The Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act will help the VA improve their services and translate those improvements into benefits for our nation’s veterans, including the more than 500,000 veterans in my district.”

The full text of the bill is available here.

115th Congress