Jennifer Wortham

Jennifer Wortham, Dr.PH, lives and works in Southern California. She specializes in strategic planning, and organizational transformation for public health systems and healthcare agencies. She currently serves as a consultant to the Ventura County Health Care Agency.  Jennifer earned a doctorate in public health from UCLA, and she teaches graduate courses at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Jennifer is on the advisory board of Spirit Fire and has advised and participated in its restorative-justice programs. She is an organizer of The First Annual Spirit Fire Global Conference on Abuse and Faith. She is co-leader, with Michael D. Hoffman and Teresa Pitt Green, of the Survivor Advisory Panel for the Working Group 1: Survivor Care in the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Jennifer endeavors to speak with the voice of family members who suffer by one degree of separation from abuse – a group whom Spirit Fire advances as needing specific pastoral care and support.

In December of 2016, Jennifer sent a letter to Pope Francis sharing her journey of forgiveness and reconciliation with the Catholic Church following the revelation of the sexual abuse of her brothers at the hands of their parish priest, and following the tragic aftermath which her family experienced following the reporting of the crimes to Church officials. She was invited to meet Pope Francis during the General Assembly, when she presented him with a special gift.  She wrote a book about her journey to that momentous day, titled A Letter to the Pope: The Keeper of the Nest, in which she shares her experience as a way to help heal those whose lives have been so tragically impacted by the abuse of children and vulnerable adults in the Church.  Jennifer’s book was featured in Maria Shriver’s Sunday news and on several cable shows and news articles.

Jennifer is currently researching various approaches to integrating spiritual healing and forgiveness into the traditional therapeutic milieu, with a focus on spirituality as a determinant in public health policy. She has conducted extensive literature reviews on child sexual abuse. Her current writing projects include a healing guide for clergy to reference when approached by someone who is has been impacted by sexual abuse, either directly or indirectly as a family member, friend, co-worker or member of the faith community.