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UCLA Opens Military Medicine Center
Posted by Amanda Macke on Nov 12, 2013 - 11:41:37 AM

WESTWOOD—UCLA expands its veteran services with the introduction of the first university-based military medicine center on the West Coast and is ranked as one of the top four-year colleges for military students.

Dr. Timothy Miller with patient Aaron P. Mankin. Photo by Operation Mend Team Photographer, Michelle van Vliet.

On November 7, UCLA announced in a press release the opening of the Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine. The Center, made possible by a $2 million donation from the two sons of Ronald A. Katz, provides comprehensive healthcare for wounded servicemen and servicewomen by using the latest in medical research and technology.


The appointed executive director of the center and retired four-star general, Peter Chiarelli stated in the release, "The Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine at UCLA will address the unique clinical challenges posed by battlefield trauma and enhance the standard of care within military medicine through a dedicated and focused partnership among the various branches of the U.S. military, UCLA Health System and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA." Chiarelli continued, "This new center will leverage and maximize the university's brain trust of knowledge, experience, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit to address and tackle the challenges of military medicine.”


The center is the only institution on the West Coast dedicated to advancing the research, evaluation and treatment of veterans suffering from wounds unique to wartime, such as post-traumatic stress, disfiguring bodily injuries and traumatic brain injuries. “Today, 400 UCLA faculty members and 350 medical students care for more than 3,000 veterans each year in nearly every medical discipline,” as stated in the press release.


The $2 million contribution from Todd and Randy Katz expands upon the project founded by their father, UCLA’s Operation Mend. Their father, Ronald A. Katz, initiated a partnership in 2007 with the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to give reconstructive plastic surgeries to returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with severe facial injuries.


Operation Mend’s services have since grown to promote the physical, mental and emotional healing of our servicemen and servicewomen. Services include plastic and reconstructive surgeries for severely damaged body parts, fittings for new prosthetic designs, internal organ repair and mental-health support for military personnel and their families.


Since 2007, UCLA’s Operation Mend has assisted 97 severely wounded veterans and their families, free of charge.


The newly opened Ronald A. Katz Center will now function as the military medical hub of the West Coast, offering medical care, support programs and research. The center will “focus on enhancing the treatment protocols for cranial-facial reconstruction, burn repair, limb reconstruction, hand and face transplantation, traumatic brain injury and other critical areas prioritized by the military” through specialized clinical care.


UCLA’s support of military personnel through programs such as these earned the campus a top spot on the "Best for Vets: Colleges 2014" list by the Military Times, “the trusted, independent source for news and information for the Military Times community,” according to their website. 


On November 11, the Military Times released their list ranking the best four-year colleges for military students based upon the quality of the schools’ veteran programs and the success of its students. Out of 86 colleges, UCLA was ranked 44 out of 86 colleges.


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