The Wounded Warrior Project has announced a three-year, $100 million effort to connect wounded veterans and their families with individualized mental health care.
The Warrior Care Network will provide timely access to high-quality care for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) — two of the most commonly experienced injuries among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — through partnerships with Operation Mend at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program at Emory University in Atlanta; the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital's Home Base program; and the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The network will develop two- to three-week intensive outpatient treatment programs that integrate behavioral health care, rehabilitative medicine, wellness, nutrition, mindfulness training, and family support. The four partner medical centers have committed to providing culturally sensitive, comprehensive care; sharing best practices; coordinating care among sites; and developing and delivering on measurable healthcare outcomes.
WWP and the four centers will commit a total of $100 million over three years to fund the initiative. WWP has awarded each partner a three-year, $15.7 million grant to expand their programs, while the medical centers will contribute $7.5 million each through their own fundraising efforts. WWP also will contribute additional funds to build out the systemwide infrastructure necessary for data collection and aggregation to support the development of best practices. Starting in the fall, UCLA's Operation Mend will begin offering a three-week on-site program, to be followed by an additional three weeks of tele-health sessions. As with all its services, Operation Mend will cover all expenses for the veterans, including travel and housing.
"The invisible wounds that our injured warriors struggle with every day have devastating long-term consequences on their health, yet too often they have difficulty seeking and getting timely and effective care for these conditions," said WWP chief program officer Jeremy Chwat. "We envision and seek to create a world where warriors who live with PTSD and TBI have access to the timely and quality care they need to recover, heal, and move forward with their lives."