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UCLA Operation Mend

Operation Mend Buddy Programs

Operation Mend Buddy Gamily ProgramOperation Mend Buddy Programs are designed to fulfill our patient's non-medical needs, engaging the patients and their families in activities beyond UCLA's clinic and hotel walls. The time our buddies spend with Operation Mend patients not only provides comfort and entertainment, but often leads to life-long bonds.

Watch Video: Operation Mend Buddy Families: In their own words 

Buddy Family Program

The Operation Mend Buddy Family program offers each Operation Mend participant the opportunity to be matched with a loving, caring family that lives close to UCLA and can provide extra comfort, care, and fun for a wounded warrior and his or her family when they are visiting Los Angeles. For the Buddy Families, it is a hands-on opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone who has suffered great injury through service to our country, and it is a learning opportunity for parents and children alike, bringing the reality of war closer to home.

Buddy Families greet their buddies upon arrival at Tiverton House, bring them to their homes for dinner or just to relax, take them on sightseeing and other outings, and deliver meals after surgery. They also can make arrangements through the Operation Mend office to take patients and their families to UCLA sporting events and other special activities.

Buddy families play an important role in the care and support Operation Mend provides each patient and his/her family. We take great care to match our patients with buddy families that reflect each patient’s family’s needs. And because every patient’s family structure is different, we welcome all sorts of families to participate as buddy families for our wounded warriors.

To learn more about being a Buddy Family, contact Dana Katz via email or telephone. An in-person interview is required in addition to completing an application and taking a brief online HIPAA training.

For inquiries, please contact:

Dana Katz
Operation Mend Buddy Family Coordinator
(310) 267-2110


Daytime Buddy Program

Daytime Buddy ProgramFor individuals or families seeking to volunteer with Operation Mend patients but cannot commit to the full Buddy Family Program, we created the "Daytime" Buddy Program. The Daytime Buddies let us know which of their hobbies or interests they'd like to share with our patients (e.g. love of cars, sports, music, trains, theme parks, food, knitting, taxidermy, etc. - you name it and we'll have a patient with like interests!) and when patients have similar interests and have extra time in their schedules, we coordinate outings for them.

Sharing hobbies can be a bonding experience and once our patients meet one of our Daytime Buddies, they usually ask to see them each time they're in Los Angeles. We love being able to call on our Daytime Buddies, and often do, to give our patients the opportunity to get out of their hotel room and have some good conversation and fun with new friends.

If you are interested in being a Daytime Buddy or in learning more about the program, please contact:

Dana Katz
(310) 267-2110 office


Teen Buddy Program

Operation Mend Teen Buddy ProgramThe Operation Mend Teen Buddy Program was conceived in January 2011 by teens in Los Angeles who wanted to find ways to give back to Wounded Warriors being treated at UCLA's Operation Mend. Over the course of the first year, our founding teens spent time with the Operation Mend staff, patients and family members and decided that the Teen Buddy Program would provide the following opportunities for teens:

  • Greeting patients and their families upon arrival at Tiverton House;
  • Showing patients and family members around Westwood Village to familiarize them with the amenities of the area within walking distance of Tiverton House;
  • Taking patients and family members out for casual lunches or dinners;
  • Babysitting the patients' children when the patients have special events or need a little "adult" time;
  • Hanging out with patients' teenage children when the patients' teens need a little "teen" time.

To be a Teen Buddy, interested teens must fill out an application, receive parental consent to participate, attend a four-hour training course and complete an online HIPAA training. The first group of teens received training in April 2012, and the second group was trained in October 2012.

For inquiries, please contact:

Dana Katz
Operation Mend Buddy Family Coordinator
(310) 267-2110

Carol Lemus
Operation Mend Assistant Coordinator

Sara Evall
Operation Mend Teen Buddy Coordinator

Juliana Simon
Operation Mend Teen Buddy Coordinator


Medical Student Buddies (The Operation Mend Medical Student Organization)

Medical Student Buddies The Operation Mend Medical Student Organization was established to support the goals and interests of the Operation Mend team and its patients. Students participate in community outreach, OMMSO service projects as well as support the service men and women directly through participation in the Buddy program. OMMSO also serves to raise awareness for veterans' health and promote leadership through service within the community. Finally, OMMSO members are able to gain a unique perspective on state of the art health care delivery and the opportunity to be a part of a multidisciplinary patient care team.

For inquiries, please contact:

Amelia Goodfellow and Eric Pillado
Medical Student Organization Leaders
AGoodfellow@mednet.ucla.edu, EPillado@mednet.ucla.edu


Undergraduate Buddies (The Operation Mend Undergraduate Association)

Undergraduate Buddies -The Operation Mend Undergraduate AssociationOperation Mend Undergraduate Association (OMUA) works to promote medical education, build awareness and provide valuable service to Operation Mend and its patients. OMUA joins with other student organizations to enhance community understanding of the diverse needs of our veterans, and we take pride in our relationship with Operation Mend through the Buddy Family program. Through these experiences, students gain a broader understanding of the services that are necessary for veterans and their families, as well as invaluable insight into today's healthcare system. Through interaction with veterans and professionals, students learn to collaborate and to become strong leaders.

For inquiries, please contact:

operationmendua@gmail.com or www.omua.org

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