Wounded Warrior Project representatives

Representatives from Wounded Warrior Project and UCLA Operation Mend announce support for mental health treatment at a news conference aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.

Media Coverage


Wounded Warrior Project Invests $100 Million More in Mental Health and Brain Injury Care
(Wounded Warrior Project Newsroom, January 16, 2024)
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is investing over $100 million in evidence-based care for veteran mental health and brain injuries. The funding will make it possible for more post-9/11 veterans to attend a program that can significantly reduce depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder in two weeks.

This is the latest investment by WWP™ in Warrior Care Network®, bringing the total to $336 million. Launched in 2015, Warrior Care Network is a national partnership between WWP and four clinical partners. It aims to make it easier for veterans to get mental health and brain injury care. It offers a customized two-week program at no cost that is faster and more effective than traditional treatments.


Veteran walks thousands of miles for Operation Mend
(TODAY, November 12, 2023)
One morning about 15 years ago, United States Vietnam veteran Ric Ryan pledged 25 cents for every friendly wave he got on his long daily walks to Operation Mend, which provides free, lifesaving care to America’s wounded veterans. Ric’s pledge has reached over a couple of a hundred thousand dollars and counting. NBC’s Harry Smith caught up with the vet in this week’s Sunday Spotlight.

Veterans Day in photos: UCLA celebrates coast to coast
(UCLA Newsroom, November 11, 2023)
As the nation’s largest Veterans Day parade kicked off in New York City on Saturday morning, Nov. 11, among the 20,000 participants was a contingent of about a hundred people representing Operation Mend, the partnership between UCLA Health and the U.S. military dedicated to healing physical and psychological wounds of war.

Among the marchers making their way up Fifth Avenue, cheered on by an estimated crowd estimated of 400,000, were UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, leaders from UCLA Health and Operation Mend health care professionals, patients and their families, and supporters.

UCLA honors Ronald Katz with Fiat Lux Award
(UCLA Newsroom, October 13, 2023)
UCLA alumnus Ronald A. Katz, an inventor and entrepreneur who for more than 50 years has helped to advance UCLA’s mission through his wide-ranging philanthropic giving and volunteer service, was honored Sept. 27 with the Fiat Lux Award, which recognizes distinguished or extraordinary service to the university.

Katz, the driving force behind the founding of Operation Mend at UCLA, received the award from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block during a private dinner at the chancellor’s residence.

Vietnam vet helping injured service members one quarter at a time
(NBC News, September 1, 2023)
Walking has helped Vietnam veteran Ric Ryan and he’s known around his California town for waving to everyone he passes by. Ric decided to donate a quarter for everyone who waves back to him on his walks to Operation Mend, which helps post-9/11 veterans injured in service. NBC News’ Harry Smith spoke with Ric about going the extra mile.

Yolanda Poullard | Laker for a Day
(UCLA Health News, February 23, 2023)
Not all wounds are visible. For Yolanda Poullard, a retired U.S. Army Major, the injury was to her spirit and her mental well-being. Yolanda spent more than 18 years in the military, including serving as a company commander leading more than 200 soldiers in Afghanistan.

She was on her way to headquarters when her team was attacked and three of her comrades were killed. Yolanda was devastated and felt guilty that she had not been with her team when the attack occurred.


Operation Mend receives customized shuttle bus from Penske Motor Group to help veterans on road to recovery
(UCLA Health News, February 27, 2020)
Veterans who are receiving treatment through UCLA Health's Operation Mend will get some help navigating Los Angeles traffic on their way to and from appointments thanks to a new specially modified shuttle bus designed to accommodate the physical needs of patients, including a wheel chair lift and spacious seating. The brand-new Ford F450 Challenger, given to Operation Mend by the Penske Motor Group, Longo Toyota and Longo Lexus, is wrapped with photos of veterans who have been treated at Operation Mend for injuries suffered while serving in the post 9/11 era.


Operation Mend cheered on at New York City Veterans Day Parade
(UCLA Health News, November 13, 2019)
As the 11 veterans who have been treated through the UCLA Health Operation Mend program began their 1.2-mile trek for the 100th New York City's Veteran's Day parade, they took a moment to reflect. For many of them, the day was a powerful mark on their collective journey toward healing their wounds of war.

Operation Mend receives gift from Hidden Heroes Fund
(UCLA Health News, June 26, 2019)
UCLA Operation Mend, which provides free surgical, medical and psychological treatment for post-9/11 service members, veterans and their caregivers, has received a $25,000 gift from the Hidden Heroes Fund, a program of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that supports initiatives serving military caregivers. In 2016, Operation Mend launched the intensive treatment program, a six-week program that provides mental health services for veterans with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. The program includes and provides mental health services for veterans' caregivers.

UCLA Operation Mend receives $1 million gift for veterans’ mental health services
(UCLA Health News, April 15, 2019)
UCLA Operation Mend, which provides free surgical, medical and psychological treatment for post-9/11 service members, veterans and their families, has received a $1 million gift from The Thalians, a Los Angeles philanthropic group devoted to eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness. Funds will support mental health services for people with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries, strengthening an intensive treatment program that Operation Mend began in 2016. Starting in June, the program will double the number of participants who receive treatment; the gift will support that expansion.


UCLA Operation Mend Participates in 2018 Veteran’s Day Parade
(Various news outlets, November 2018)

  • Willie Geist of MSNBC’s Morning Joe reported on Operation Mend and a visit made by Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United of Nations, with patients at a dinner following the Veterans Day parade.
  • Yolanda Poullard, a U.S. Army Major (retired) of Louisiana, developed PTSD after returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her story was featured by local TV stations, including KATCKPLC, and KLSA.
  • John Kob, a U.S. Marine Sergeant Major (retired) of Tennessee, was treated for PTSD through Operation Mend's intensive treatment program. His story was featured by local TV stations WJHL and WCYB and his local paper The Tomahawk.
  • Tad Steckler, a U.S. Army Master Sergeant (retired) of Nebraska, sustained numerous physical injuries and traumatic brain injury from parachute jumps and explosions. His story was covered by his local FOX station KPTM.
  • George Cloy, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (retired) of Washington, suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq. His story was covered by local TV stations KCPQKOMO and KATU and by his local paper The Auburn Reporter.
  • David Yoho, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (retired) of Georgia, suffered numerous physical injuries and traumatic brain injuries. His story was reported by his local paper Tribune & Georgian.
  • Darius Johnson, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (retired) of South Carolina, was wounded when an improvised explosive device exploded. His story was featured by his local NBC station WIS.

Vietnam Veteran Ric Ryan raises more than $125,000 for UCLA Operation Mend
(UCLA Health social media, Nov 7, 2018)
Ric Ryan, a Vietnam veteran who lives in California, has raised more than $125,000 for Operation Mend over the last decade. UCLA Health created a video about his work, which received 31,000 views on Facebook. His story was reported by local publication The Pine Tree.

Operation Mend joins forces with the Movember Foundation to fundraise for veteran mental health services
(UCLA Health News, Nov 2, 2018)
Brian Schiefer, a U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant (retired) of Florida, was paralyzed from the waist down in a military training accident. He served as Team Captain for a joint campaign between Operation Mend and Movember, as mentioned in a UCLA Health press release.

$20.1 million grant expands UCLA Operation Mend’s mental health program
(UCLA Health News, Oct 23, 2018)
UCLA Health Operation Mend has received a five-year, $20.1 million grant from Wounded Warrior Project to expand its intensive treatment program that serves veterans with post-traumatic stress and mild traumatic brain injuries and their caregivers. The contribution is the largest ever to Operation Mend and is part of a larger $160 million investment that Wounded Warrior Project is making to increase its support of the Warrior Care Network, which includes UCLA, Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital and Rush University Medical Center.

Vietnam veteran marks 10 years of walks to raise money for UCLA’s Operation Mend
(UCLA Health News, Oct 2, 2018)
Ric Ryan, 72, fought for his country in Vietnam, has had both knees and one hip replaced and, in August, was struck by a car at a crosswalk. The car accident took him out of action for several weeks, but soon he was back trekking along the streets near his hometown of Murphys, California to raise money for a UCLA program that helps wounded veterans of post 9-11 conflicts, most of whom weren’t even born when Ryan was a Marine fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.

Walking Man of Murphy’s Celebrates 10 years of showing veteran support (Calaveras Enterprise, Sept 14, 2018)
What began as an effort to start a healthier lifestyle for Vietnam veteran Ric Ryan, has turned into a decadelong passion to raise funds for injured veterans. “I like to walk,” Ryan said. “I’ve been walking since I was 12.” Yet, 10 years ago, walking changed for Ryan. “I saw something on the TV about Operation Mend, so I thought I might try to help (veterans) by counting waves from folks as I was walking.” For each wave he would take 25 cents out of his own pocket to put it in a fund he had set aside for Operation Mend. 

Kindergarten class supports wounded veterans with homemade ‘quilt of valor’ (UCLA Health Connect, May 29, 2018)
A kindergarten class from the Berkeley Hall School in Los Angeles presented a homemade "quilt of valor" to UCLA Health Operation Mend, a program that provides health services for wounded post 9/11 service members. Quilts of valor are given to injured military service members to provide warmth and comfort.

PC Magazine highlights UCLA Operation Mend (PC Magazine, March 19, 2018)
During the height of the Iraq War in 2005, Sergeant Karolyn Smith, a machine gunner for the 127th Military Police, was on patrol one night in a Humvee military truck when her vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. "I knew that I was on fire, and badly injured," Sgt. Smith told PCMag, "But luckily adrenaline kicked in, masking the severe shock and reality of what just happened to my life, my body and my career in the Armed Forces." Several years later, after multiple spine surgeries, she was treating her chronic pain with a high level dosage of painkillers and desperately seeking a solution (or an end to it all).

The Warrior Care Network seeks early intervention when battling long-term illness in veterans (American Heart Association News, March 19, 2018)
A higher severity of an injury during war – and of a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis later – could more than double the risk for high blood pressure, according to a new study of service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Operation Mend patient able to join the team marching in the New York Veterans Day Parade (Mail Tribune, November 11, 2017)
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Dana Katz visits with Spectum News to discuss Operation Mend and serving the veteran community (Spectrum News, November 4, 2017)
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Operation Mend 10th Anniversary raises more than $1.1 Million for wounded veterans (UCLA Health Newsroom, October 12, 2017)
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Vietnam Marine continues to serve raising funds for Operation Mend (Calaveras Enterprise, October 12, 2017)
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Fox 11 News and Lisa McRee report on Operation Mend (Fox 11 News, September 14, 2017)
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Veterans with PTSD need integration into the family, not isolation (connect.uclahealth.org, June 27, 2017)
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Kindergarten students donate Quilt of Valor to Operation Mend (dailynews.com, June 14, 2017)
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News Story (lakers.com, Nov. 14, 2016)
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Lakers partner with UCLA Health to support Operation Mend (lakers.com, Nov. 14, 2016)
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Amherst veteran being honored during New York holiday parade (WQOQ.com, Nov. 3, 2016)

UCLA’s Operation Mend to help veterans with hidden wounds of war (Los Angeles Daily News, April 13, 2016)
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UCLA looks to involve families in care for veterans with brain injuries (89.3 KPCC, April 2016)
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Healing the Invisible Wounds (U Magazine, Spring 2016)
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UCLA Operation Mend launches mental health program for wounded veterans and their families (UCLA Health Newsroom, April 13, 2016)
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UCLA's veteran care program gets a boost (KPCC, January 14, 2016)
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UCLA Operation Mend receives $50,000 gift to benefit veterans (UCLA Health Newsroom, January 14, 2016)
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Calaveras County Honors Veterans (Calaveras Enterprise, November 12, 2015)

Women & Operation Mend with Dr. Sornborger & Angelica Jimenez (Fox News, November 11, 2015)
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Operation Mend on the Today Show Plaza (The Today Show, November 11, 2015)
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Operation Mend on the Today Show at 9am (The Today Show, November 11, 2015)
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Operation Mend Vet Answers Question on Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda (Kathie Lee & Hoda - The Today Show, November 11, 2015)
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Support Dogs Help Veterans Heal After Military Life (The Press Telegram, November 10, 2015)
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Marine Corporal James Gentile Walks in Veteran’s Day Parade (WDAF-TV, November 10, 2015)
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Local War Hero Michael Bitner Honored in Veteran’s Day Parade (KTVU-TV, November 10, 2015)
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Area veteran to walk in New York parade (JDNews.com, November 10, 2015)

Lee’s Summit veteran of Iraq to march in New York for Operation Mend (The Kansas City Star, November 7, 2015)

UCLA and VA launch program to enhance cancer care for veterans (UCLA Health Newsroom, September 30, 2015)
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Murphys ‘Walking Man’ back on the road (Calaveras Enterprise, September 4, 2015)

UCLA Operation Mend honored with award at Pentagon (UCLA Newsroom, September 3, 2015)
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Newman's Own Awards Six Nonprofits $200,000 (Military Times, September 2, 2015)
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'Small Organizations with Big Hearts' Receive Newman's Own Awards (U.S. Department of Defense, September 2, 2015) 

Operation Mend Helps Fight the Mental Wounds of War (La Opinion, July 20, 2015)
Part 1 - Veteranos de guerra: Con heridas en la piel y en el alma
Part 2 - Veterano latino lucha para superar traumas de la guerra
Part 3 - ¿Cómo ayudar a los veteranos heridos en combate?

Injured Vet Spreads Laughter and Hope (KENS-TV, July 4, 2015)
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Wounded Veteran Launches Comedy Career (KNBC-Channel 4, June 28, 2015)
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$70M to be invested in veterans' mental health (Military Times, June 18, 2015)
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Dancing away the wounds of war (MY 9 NJ, Jun 08, 2015)
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Inspiring Story of Marine Vet: NJ Native Overcomes Injuries (Richard French, June 4, 2015)
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Veterans Affairs Secretary McDonald visits UCLA (UCLA Newsroom, June 3, 2015)
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UCLA Operation Mend receives $15.7 million for mental health program for wounded warriors (UCLA Health News, June 2, 2015)
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UCLA's Operation Mend receives $15.7M grant to expand services to wounded veterans (89.3 KPCC News, June 2, 2015)
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New Jersey Veteran Finds New Life in Zumba (WFUV.ORG, May 22, 2015)
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NJ Veteran Zumba (WMBC-TV, May 25,2015)
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Media Spotlights Operation Mend Patient Angelica Jimenez (WLNY, May 22, 2015)
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Media Spotlights Operation Mend Patient Angelica Jimenez (Fox NY Channel 5, May 23, 2015)
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Brownies Deliver Get Well Cards (KCBS News, May 8, 2015)
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UCLA Spring Showcase Raises More than $12,000 for Operation Mend (UCLA Athletics News, April 28,2015)
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UCLA’s Operation Mend Provides Disfigured Veteran With Life-Changing Surgery (CBS Los Angeles, April 10, 2015)
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South Pole, check — now the Sahara: Wounded vet to tackle ‘toughest footrace on Earth’ (PT360.com, March 24, 2015)
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Gallery hosts Thalians Operation Mend (The Desert Sun, January 31, 2015)

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