For more than 70 years, UCLA has partnered with the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles campus in service, training and research on behalf of veterans . Through an array of programs, units across UCLA’s campus provide healthcare, meals, legal representation, recreational opportunities and other resources to veterans and their families, and collaborates on vital medical and social research. These include:
UCLA/VA Veteran Family Wellness Center
The Veteran Family Wellness Center (VFWC) offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere for veterans and their families, including parents, couples and children. The program is part of a unique partnership between the University of California, Los Angeles and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. The VFWC team is comprised of skilled providers who are experts in the unique needs of military families and experienced in providing a range of wellness services, including:
- Individual service consultations and resources
- Family and couples’ resilience training programs
- Parenting workshops and child development information
- TeleFOCUS long-distance resilience training
- Fun recreational activities designed to promote family and child well ‐ being in the adjacent garden
- Quality referrals to mental health care and connection to other community services
The VFWC is open to veterans of all eras and discharge statuses and their families for both drop-in and scheduled services during family-friendly hours. For more information, contact Family Resource Coordinator Melissa Lee at 310.478.3711 ext. 42793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The UCLA/VA Veteran Family Wellness Center has served more than 26,000 veterans and their family members – including nearly 7,000 veterans in 2020 – at no cost since opening in August 2017 . The center provides resilience and skills training and other consultations. E vents in 2020 include four drive-through food pantries and the center’s annual Holiday Lane drive-through toy giveaway.
UCLA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic
The UCLA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic offers legal representation at no cost to homeless, disabled and other veterans. In the clinic’s first three years of operation, UCLA faculty and students provided legal assistance to more than 500 veterans in nearly 700 matters.
UCLA Professional School Partnerships with VA
The David Geffen School of Medicine has a longstanding, close-knit academic partnership with the Greater Los Angeles and Sepulveda VA Hospitals. This partnership includes highly active and robust programs in research and education. Educational activities include training programs for residents and fellows and clinical education for medical students. David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA faculty and residents provide care to thousands of patients a year at the VA, including more than 7,600 in 2020.
UCLA School of Nursing Master's Entry Clinical Nurse (MCEN) students complete a clinical rotation at the West LA VA hospital.
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health is actively involved in education and training with the VA with more than a dozen fellowship and research programs focused on education, research, patient care, and quality improvement. Dozens of faculty members have been engaged with the VA over the last 40+ years on issues of substance abuse research, homeless shelter research, acute quality care issues, medical home teams, and HIV positive veterans issues. Together the Fielding School and the VA have co-trained hundreds of MD and PhD student fellows, as well as over a hundred MPH/MSPH students. The VA has employed dozens of Fielding School alumni.
The UCLA School of Dentistry has been serving patients from the VA since 1990. The UCLA School of Dentistry provides 350 patient visits a year to veterans in Los Angeles County.
For more than 20 years, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has sustained a relationship with the VA of Greater Los Angeles. More than 150 social welfare students have trained and provided services to the VA, and faculty members have lead roles at the West LA and Sepulveda sites.
Approximately 70 students from UCLA School of Law have provided legal services to homeless veterans in Los Angeles County since 2010. At the VA campus in West LA, student volunteers provide intake and referrals in areas such as traffic and quality-of-life citations, VA disability benefits, debt, and family law. Working with the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA)’s Veterans Project, students also assist veterans with resolving tickets and misdemeanor expungements. Additionally, law students have the opportunity to enroll in UCLA School of Law’s Veterans Benefits Legal Clinic, where they personally carry caseloads of homeless veterans seeking VA disability benefits.
Veterans and their families are regularly welcomed to Jackie Robinson Stadium, when pandemic restrictions are not in place, to watch college baseball games at no cost and engage with UCLA Baseball student-athletes and coaches.
UCLA Dining provides more than 1,300 free meals per week to homeless veterans, distributed through the Village for Vets program.
Established in 2007 and now part of "Joining Forces," the White House's nationwide effort to galvanize resources to support military families, Operation Mend is a pioneering program that combines the best of the military's resources with the skills of the UCLA Health System for a comprehensive and collaborative approach to healing U.S. military personnel injured and disfigured in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the original goal of Operation Mend was to give returning service members with severe facial injuries access to the Army's best burn center and the nation's best plastic and reconstructive surgeons, the program has since expanded to optimize the healing of body, mind and spirit. In addition to plastic and reconstructive surgery, Operation Mend provides mental health support for wounded warriors and their families, orthopedic reconstruction for severely damaged limbs, urology treatment, otolaryngology care, examination and treatment of reproductive issues, repair of airways, and the design of prosthetic ears. Video interview with co-directors.
UCLA’s Operation Mend has offered personalized treatment at no cost to more than 1,100 veterans of recent conflicts struggling with symptoms related to PTSD, traumatic brain injury and physical injuries connected to military service.
Veterans Resource Center
TheVeteran Resource Center (VRC) provides caring and personalized support for undergraduate and graduate student veterans in their transition from military service to civilian and college life. We help our student veterans navigate UCLA and provide them with a welcoming space, mentoring from other student veterans, guidance on educational benefits, and tools to succeed academically and personally. We value the skills, assets and experiences veterans bring to the UCLA community and are committed to helping them achieve their goals and aspirations. The VRC also increases campus awareness of student-veteran issues and fosters a sense of belonging, community and well-being for all student veterans on campus.
Chancellor Block launched UCLA's Veterans Initiative in January 2013 to build on- and off-campus awareness about UCLA programs, research projects and services that benefit veterans. The initiative also seeks to boost awareness of and appreciation for the hurdles returning U.S. service members face and the advantages and skills they bring to civilian life. The initiative involves, among other efforts, the relaunch and redesign of its veterans website to appeal to a broad audience and the co-hosting of the half-day forum " How Are Veterans Changing America? " with partner Zócalo Public Square.
Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine
The Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine at UCLA works with the U.S. military to address the unique challenges of healing and caring for the nation's most critically wounded warriors. By serving as a nexus for UCLA's many research projects and services designed to help America's servicemen and servicewomen, the center will help foster collaborations and partnerships both within the university and between UCLA and the military to increase our nation's ability to care for wounded veterans.
Nathanson Family Resilience Center
The Nathanson Family Resilience Center (NFRC) integrates research, practice and technology to provide an array of resilience building programs for military and veteran families facing transitions and other challenges. The center provides a continuum of family and community interventions— including, web-based tools, education and training materials—that can be implemented in a variety of contexts. The FOCUS Project, offered at 29 US military installations, helps to improve the lives of families facing military life transitions, deployments, combat exposures, and parental injury or illness. FOCUS services are also available at the UCLA-VA Veteran Family Wellness Center in West Los Angeles. The Welcome Back Veterans Training Institute strengthens the network of support for military families by training military and veteran service organizations and community providers across the Country and abroad. FOCUS on the Go is a free downloadable mobile application that supports military family resilience and communication skills. The Female Veterans Initiative provides FOCUS prevention services for female veterans and their children in transitional housing facilities in partnership with Volunteers of America and US Vets. Video interview with FOCUS director.
Please visit the Nathanson Family Resilience Center website for additional information about their services.
Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans With Disabilities
The Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans With Disabilities is an innovative program that provides free training in small-business management for disabled veterans through the UCLA Anderson School of Management. It was recognized by the Department of the Army in 2009 as a national "best practice" program providing service to soldiers and their families. UCLA is one of seven sites offering the boot camp.
Brain Injury Research Center
David Hovda, a professor of neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, was selected by the U.S. Army as the recipient of the 2011 Strength of the Nation Award, presented to an individual who engages in exemplary public service that makes a substantial contribution to the Army's mission. Hovda was cited for his breakthrough research that led to a system for the diagnosis of and recovery from traumatic brain injury on the battlefield as well as the establishing of the National Intrepid Center for Excellence, a national institute dedicated to advancing our nation’s understanding about the invisible wounds from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His visionary efforts have helped hundreds of military men and women at war receive state-of-the-art treatment for mild traumatic brain injury caused mainly by improvised explosive devices. If not treated, these injuries can lead to brain damage and mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Video interview with Dr. Hovda.
Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (CASIT)
At UCLA's CASIT, doctors and researchers are pioneering a new world of robotic and sensing technologies that will dramatically improve medical care for both military members and civilians. Among the center's innovations is a revolutionary prosthetic-leg "touch feedback" system in which sensors placed in the prosthetic transmit real-time messages to the body and brain about balance and gait, allowing veterans and others to adapt far more quickly, efficiently and safely to their new limbs. Video
NCTSN Military Families Program
The UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS) is the coordinating center for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The NCCTS is home to the NCTSN Military Families Program which provides education and training on a variety of military and veteran-related behavioral health issues. The NCCTS has partnered with leadership from the VA and Department of Defense to create a large number of educational webinars, materials and podcasts. These training materials are freely available on the NCTSN Learning Center in the Military Families section (http://learn.NCTSN.org). A wide variety of additional resources, including military family friendly guides, are also available in the NCTSN Military Families Knowledge Bank.
MOVE! Weight Management Program
Board-certified physician nutrition specialist Dr. Zhaoping Li discovered that veterans tended to struggle with weight problems more than the general public. Believing that physical and mental disabilities resulting from military service may contribute to difficulty in maintaining a healthy weight, she helped develop the MOVE program at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to assist veterans in losing weight, keeping it off and improving their overall health. Video
UCLA Recreation provides a variety of recreation programs for veterans and others with physical or cognitive disabilities. These programs expand access to opportunities that promote physical fitness, health, and wellness, social interaction, increased self-esteem, and greater functional independence. Video
UCLA Volunteer Center
In addition to organizing regular service projects to beautify and improve the Veterans Home of West Los Angeles and sites at the nearby Greater Los Angeles VA, the UCLA Volunteer Center coordinates letter-writing campaigns and care-package delivery to more than 6,000 military service members in hostile regions around the world each year, in partnership with the volunteer-run nonprofit Operation Gratitude. For some soldiers, this is the only contact they have with home. The partnership strives to promote greater awareness of and appreciation for military members' service and sacrifice. The Volunteer Center is hosting a campus-wide challenge to write 3,000+ letters by June 2013. Members of the community can leave their letters in drop boxes found all around campus. Operation Gratitude has sent more than 600,000 care packages since 2003, and UCLA is the first large-scale university the organization has joined with to increase these efforts. Video
Yellow Ribbon Program
Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, UCLA's Anderson School of Management and School of Law provide eligible student veterans with tuition waivers or a grant matched by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The program, managed by the VA, was established by the Post–9/11 GI Bill. Both schools offer extensive career services to support student veterans.
Veterans Day Ceremony
The annual UCLA Veterans Day Ceremony honors those in the UCLA family who are members of the military — those who have completed their service, those on active duty, those who are training to serve and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Each year, alumni and other prominent veterans are asked to participate and speak at this important event. Video of 2007 ceremony.
UCLA Employment Services
As part of Campus Human Resources ’ outreach efforts, partnerships have been established with veterans organizations to discuss employment opportunities for veterans at UCLA and university jobs are regularly advertised on websites developed specifically with veterans in mind. Campus Human Resources has also begun a pilot program called the UCLA Veterans Work Experience Program (VWEP). Paid for by the Veterans Administration, the program is designed to assist veterans with their transition to full time employment by providing them with valuable on-the-job experience as a volunteer at UCLA. Additionally, UCLA's Staff and Faculty Counseling Center (SFCC ) fosters a productive and supportive work environment for all employees. Services are free, voluntary, and confidential.