At Global Health Corps (GHC), Jess leads the organization’s communications and new fellow recruitment strategies and is also responsible for developing a global cadre of powerful voices for health equity, overseeing the advocacy and communications components of GHC’s leadership development curriculum. Before joining GHC, Jess managed a large grant portfolio as a Program Officer on the Global Tobacco Control Policy and Advocacy team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to that, Jess spent five years as an independent consultant specializing in reproductive rights, working in Asia, Africa, and the United States. She worked with UN Women in Thailand to leverage national and regional studies on gender-based violence as advocacy tools for Asia-Pacific Member States ahead of the UN Commission on the Status of Women; she produced a report on methods of costing the economic impact of violence against women in the region. She conducted research in Ghana on the impacts of the U.S. Helms Amendment on access to safe abortion for the global rights group Ipas. Working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Maternal and Child Health team, she led a robust effort to align advocacy messages among reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health NGOs, overseeing message testing with policymakers in several continents and a roll-out at the World Health Assembly. Jess was a Manager at Global Health Strategies, where she led strategic media and advocacy efforts for the 2010 Women Deliver conference, hailed by The Lancet as “the most significant event for the future of women in 20 years.” She got her start at Planned Parenthood Global, first as a part-time intern and later as Program Officer for Communication and Learning; she worked as an abortion counselor at an NYC clinic on the weekends. Jess has written widely on these issues, published in The Lancet, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Ms. Magazine and the Stanford Social Innovation Review Blog, among others. Jess served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Northwest Abortion Fund.
Jess earned her Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, where she focused on applied ethics and Tibetan Buddhism. She was awarded a grant to conduct health literacy training with Tibetan Buddhist nuns in remote Ladakh, India. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in religion and philosophy where she received the Richard Ellis Katz Award in Religion.