Operation Supply Drop appoints first-ever Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to enhance the healing and rehabilitation benefits of their video game care packages for servicemembers and veterans
Austin, TX (March 21, 2016) – Military charity Operation Supply Drop (OSD) – the world’s most generationally relevant support organization for veterans and active duty military – is thrilled to announce the addition of U.S. Army Major Erik Johnson to the OSD leadership team. Major Johnson joins OSD as its Chief Medical Officer, broadening the scope of the Supply Drop program and working to partner with military medical facilities to make optimal decisions for integrating video games into occupational therapy and transitioning efforts for service members.
As Chief Medical Officer of OSD, Johnson brings a decade of medical and personal experience directly using video games as a therapeutic tool to treat cognitive, behavioral and physical traumas of wounded service members. With tenures as former Chief of Amputee Occupational Therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Chief of Occupational Therapy for Burn Rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center’s Institute of Surgical Research, Johnson is an expert in the field and has deeply integrated video games into occupational therapy with great success, treating a variety of conditions caused by service-related injuries. Johnson also received a Bronze Star for his successful work with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from 2010-2011 while deployed to Afghanistan. He was selected by the consultant to the Surgeon General of the United States to develop a rehabilitation program aimed specifically at service members with mild traumatic brain injuries sustained during combat operations.
Johnson will enhance OSD’s initiative to promote the use of video games as a key component of medical rehabilitation through its Supply Drop program. These Supply Drops will include medically relevant gaming goods, specially recommended by Johnson, with a focus on games and peripherals that have been shown to aid in the healing process and that are most readily implemented into the unique environments that military medical facilities present. Additionally, OSD will provide professional and individual guidance to medical facilities and develop an evolving video game product database. The database will identify what video games and peripherals can be best used for patients’ specific ailments and readily integrated alongside traditional treatments.
“As a proponent of using video games as therapeutic tools, I am pleased and excited to work with Operation Supply Drop to expand its veterans support efforts,” said Major Johnson. “Operation Supply Drop CEO Glenn Banton and I are strong believers in the healing power of games, and I am pleased to use my new position as Chief Medical Officer to showcase the clear medical and psychological benefits they bring to active duty servicemembers and veterans alike.”
“OSD fosters a community of veterans that game together, and that has a huge therapeutic benefit for the psycho-social aspect of the brain,” added Johnson. “Engaging people in purposeful activity is a proven therapy alone, and together we can ensure that each Supply Drop made will have a more profound effect on beneficiaries.”
“We are serious about the healing power of gaming and want to ensure we are using the games in a medically appropriate manner to support optimal recovery,” said Glenn Banton, Chief Executive Officer of Operation Supply Drop. “With the addition of Erik Johnson to our leadership team, we will expand his pioneering work and positively impact even more lives, from those veterans currently in treatment to those with ongoing ailments requiring long-term care.”
Within the first ninety days as Chief Medical Officer of OSD, Johnson will lead three separate Supply Drops at Fort Hood in Texas (March), Fort Lewis in Washington State (April) and Fort Bragg in North Carolina (May). He also co-moderated the “(Video) Gaming the Healthcare System” panel during Interactive/MedTech at SXSW 2016 with OSD CEO Glenn Banton, highlighting the significant positive impact video games have in healthcare.
ABOUT OPERATION SUPPLY DROP
Founded in 2010, Operation Supply Drop is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that brings veterans and civilian supporters together. Focused on combating depression, suicide, homelessness, and unemployment, OSD is the world’s most generationally relevant veteran support organization, serving U.S., NATO, and ANZAC veterans and active duty via three core programs: The Teams (local volunteering and support, uniting civilians and veterans), Supply Drops (video game care packages and on-post morale building events), and Thank You Deployments (gaming insider, entertainment and other exclusive VIP experiences). To date, OSD has raised over (U.S.) $8 million in monetary and in-kind donations and served over 40,000 veterans and active duty military worldwide. For more information, please visit here.