Teaming up to Help the Children of our Nation's Heroes

Gary Pettit
United States

Bethesda, MD, April 16, 2019 – The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) is teaming up with Tracy’s Kids to support pediatric cancer patients in a local military treatment facility. Tracy’s Kids, a 501(c)(3), has provided a two-year, $140,000 grant to HJF to place an art therapist at a local military treatment facility. The art therapist began work on February 12 and will also help researchers study the ways that art therapy benefits children undergoing treatment for cancer.  

“Receiving the diagnosis of cancer alone can be devastating. With complex and involved treatment plans, along with the associated fear of the unknown, young patients can be easily overwhelmed emotionally,” said HJF President and CEO Dr. Joseph Caravalho, Jr. “We are excited to partner with Tracy’s Kids to leverage art therapy to help this impacted pediatric population, especially those of our nation’s warfighters.”  

Drexel University’s Creative Arts Therapy Department has found that engaging in art therapy helps service members manage symptoms of depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress.  

“This is the eighth program sponsored by Tracy’s Kids and it has been a dream of ours for years,” said Matt Gerson, Tracy’s Kids Founder and President. “We hope to build on the outcomes of Drexel’s research to better assess the impact art therapy has on children with cancer. Additionally, we are overjoyed to be partnering with HJF to support America's service members by caring for their littlest warriors.” 

“When Tracy’s Kids brings its unique services to the children at the military medical center, we are going to build on what researchers have learned so that we can better assess the impact of art therapy on children with cancer,” said Karen Pence, Second Lady of the United States and Member of the Tracy’s Kids Board since 2011. “I am thrilled to know that this unprecedented study will take place and hopefully in a few years, we will have even more data and metrics to back up what we know in our hearts to be true… art therapy can provide positive outcomes for children and families.” 

The art therapist at the military treatment facility will also be working with researchers to analyze the impact art therapy has on pediatric cancer patients. HJF and Tracy’s Kids hope to continue building on the published research demonstrating a positive correlation between art therapy and the healing process.  

About HJF: The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) is a global nonprofit organization with the mission to advance military medicine. HJF’s scientific, administrative and program operations services empower investigators, clinicians, and medical researchers around the world to make medical discoveries in all areas of medicine. With more than 35 years of experience, HJF serves as a trusted and responsive link between the military medical community, federal and private partners, and the millions of warfighters, veterans, and civilians who benefit from military medicine. For more information, visit 

About Tracy’s Kids: Tracy’s Kids helps young cancer patients cope with the emotional stress imposed by the disease and its treatment. The program – which began at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in 1991 -– is offered free of charge to patients and their siblings by a team of Master’s-trained Art Therapists at Georgetown, Children’s National Medical Center, Children’s National/Pediatric Specialists of Virginia, Inova Children’s Hospital, Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Children’s Hospital at Sinai, Baltimore. The initiative with the Henry Jackson Foundation will establish its eighth location. Learn more at,