The Initiative

Renown Health and DRI launched the Healthy Nevada Project on September 15, 2016.

This comprehensive approach to improving population health is focused on integrating personal healthcare and environmental data with socioeconomic determinants to help Nevada address some of its most complex environmental health problems.

This study is helping DRI, Renown Health and Nevadans begin to understand how environmental factors and genetics can help predict who may be at risk, allow for quicker diagnoses, and encourage the development of more precise healthcare treatments.

The study led to the formation of Renown Institute of Health Innovation (Renown IHI) a partnership between DRI and Renown health. The goal of the Renown IHI is to build a large health determinants database. The main health determinants are behavior and socio-economics but also the care you receive, genetics and environmental determinants.


Phase Two: (Enrollment opened on March 15, 2018)

Utilizing Helix’s proprietary Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology and uniquely personalized suite of DNA-powered products, research teams at Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are offering an additional 40,000 Nevadans the opportunity to have their DNA sequenced and participate in the next phase of the study which opened for enrollment on March 15th, 2018.

We closed open enrollment for 10,000 study participants in five days and are now moving to demographic-based eligibility for the remaining 30,000 testing slots in phase two.

Learn More and Provide Your Demographics to Stay Updated!

The Healthy Nevada Project now offers study participants a DNA kit from Helix that provides information on personal traits or ancestry, and a Helix.com account which will enable them to explore additional DNA-powered products through the Helix App store if they choose.

The pilot phase used genotyping, which was a great start, but moving to exome sequencing and inviting an additional 40,000 people to participate will dramatically accelerate what we can learn about the human genome and has the potential to greatly improve preventative health and create an incredible potential for new scientific discoveries.

The Pilot Phase: (September 15, 2016 – December 31, 2017)

Open to northern Nevada residents, the comprehensive pilot phase of the study offered community members the opportunity to volunteer for research and gain access to their individual genetic information free of charge.

The pilot phase of the study enrolled 10,000 participants in less than 48 hours.

Subsequent DNA sample collection from each participant was completed in just 60 working days.

DNA genotyping was done with personal genetics company, 23andMe.

Participants in the pilot phase of the study range from ages 18-90 years old and come from 135 zip codes in northern Nevada.

Socioeconomic survey information was also collected during the pilot phase using an advanced online survey tool, and all responses remained confidential.

Supported in-part by Nevada’s Knowledge Fund, the Applied Innovation Center (AIC) at DRI employs a team of researchers and data scientists who are working to combine genetic data with health and population data, as well as information from environmental databases to create a large health determinants data set. This health determinants platform is being used to identify and model public health risks ranging from disease and illness to the effects of environmental factors such as air quality on the health of Nevadans.

We Must Act Now

Nationally, Nevada ranks last in public health funding as well as research and health outcomes. Some of the region’s communities, especially the rural and underserved urban areas, are in crisis. For example, people die earlier in Nevada from pancreatic cancer than the rest of the U.S. and our rate of drug-induced deaths is seven times the national average. There is a way to change these statistics. It’s called the Healthy Nevada Project.

We Have the Means

On September 15, 2016, Governor Brian Sandoval helped launch a personal genetics screening program in northern Nevada — more than 10,000 residents signed up to participate in less than 48 hours. This overwhelming response magnified the acute need for Nevada to tackle a significant population health program. Renown Institute for Health Innovation — a partnership between Renown Health, the market leader in healthcare in northern Nevada, and Desert Research Institute, one of the leading environmental research institutes in the world — was formed to address the socio-economic, environmental and genetic determinants of health. Once the study is expanded, this type of precision medicine may be applied across medical specialties and conditions including behavioral health and addiction, oncology and neurology.

A Healthier Nevada Because of You

Encouraged by this unprecedented response, we have assembled a world-class team of researchers and physicians headed by Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO of Renown Health. Working closely with communities throughout northern Nevada, we will convert data into evidence-based plans to address health priorities established by our community. We will listen. We will plan. We will act. We will report on progress. We will make a difference within this decade. This vision will only be accomplished by the support and generosity of our friends and partners. You.