It all started when…
Jennifer R. Ayers, LICSW, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006 with her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Public Child Welfare and Trauma. She has traversed the globe from the early days in Central Missouri. She obtained her independent clinical licensure in Central Texas at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, TX. Her early career allowed a diverse exposure to medicine, trauma, emergency room, military medicine, children, families in crisis, and developed a team to address the intense child about issues in Bell County Texas.
From Texas, Jennifer made the trek to the big city of Chicago, IL. She worked on the South Side of Chicago with a Family Assertive Community Treatment Program funded as a pilot program for the city. As a parent-child therapist with this team, Jennifer was able to hone her clinical skills further with young children (under age 5).
In December 2010, Jennifer was offered a commission with the United States Navy as an Active Duty Clinical Social Worker. Upon her commission in February 2011, she went Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI, and was off to her first assignment at Recruit Training Command (RTC) in North Chicago, IL.
Her Naval career allowed her the opportunity to deploy on the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) in March of 2012 as the first Clinical Social Worker to deploy on that type of ship. During this 9 month deployment to the Middle East and Africa, she worked diligently with her shipmates to provide mental health support and care for those embarked. From North Chicago and her deployment, Jennifer was sent to Northern Japan to finish out her active duty naval service working with the Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS) on Misawa Air Base Department of Defense Schools. She was the Division Officer and therapist working with 0-21 children on base and out in town.
Upon completion of her active duty service, Jennifer began work at the Naval Clinic Oak Harbor (Washington) in the Behavioral Health Clinic as a therapist. Jennifer left the Navy completely in August 2017 to pursue two of her lifelong dreams. First, she was accepted into the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work (DSW) at the University of Pennsylvania where she focuses on the rigorous study of mental health services and interventions for ship deployed Sailors and Marines. Second, she opened Rising Phoenix Wellness Center, LLC, to continue her commitment to military service members and families.