On Friday, the Grammy-winning singer John Mayer announced the establishment of the Heart and Armor Foundation, an organization devoted to improving veterans’ health through scientific research. The foundation mainly targets on emerging needs of female veterans and those veterans with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Though Mayer has publicly announced the plan recently, he has been working on the project since 2012 with clinicians, scientists, and veterans.
“We will publish research papers and raise funds to build several pilot projects. We have really valuable data and want it to work first. That’s mean there are many the questions must be answered before we used them to raise people’s awareness,” Mayer said.
The father of Mayer was a veteran of World War II. That is one of the reasons why he launched the foundation after visiting the Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps Base, in 2008.
“I was with my friend, and nobody knew what I was back then. That gave me a great look at what happened in the barracks. It was a normal day without red carpets for celebrities.” he said. “I think the wounded barracks changed my thoughts forever. The situation immediately changed my idea of what I think about the wound of wars are totally wrong. And that was so nuanced, fascinating, and compelling.”
The organization has achieved many accomplishments, including publishing ten publications in journals, created an intervention for veterans with PTSD and developed a nutrition tool for female veterans.
“I have been in many meetings where people often ask, ‘Where did the money come from for these studies and projects?’ I am like, ‘I will tell you.’ Everybody was excited about the news before I told them about John Mayer,” said Gerard Choucroun, the foundation’s executive director.
Another goal of the foundation is to bring the veteran and military communities closer through a lot of conversation, meetings, events, and outreach organized each month.
“We believe that there is something in these events for everyone. These aren’t quick black-and-white conversations, but much nuanced conversations. There will be lots of American identity in our relationship to veterans. The relationship between the citizens and those people who commit and absorb violence for those citizens can be a great cultural ground originating back to ancient Greeks times. And now we would like to become a part of the conversation and go deeper to understand each other better” Choucroun said.