Remembering Jessica Murphy | Equitas Health


Remembering Jessica Murphy

Jessica Ruth Murphy, age 44, of Columbus, Ohio passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, May 9, 2024. Jessica (she/her) was a graduate of both Ohio University and the Ohio State University, ultimately attaining her Master of Social Work. Her friends, family, and colleagues saw her as a source of light. Jessica went on to provide compassionate care to a variety of communities left out or kept out of traditional healthcare systems.

Jessica was a pillar in the recovery community and devoted her life to service and sobriety. She was Executive Director at PLAN of Central Ohio for nearly four years. She managed this small nonprofit dedicated to supporting individuals impacted by mental illness and substance use.

In June 2023, she joined Equitas Health as the director of Health Advocacy. It was a culmination of her life’s work. At Equitas Health, Jessica sought to change the systems that marginalized and stigmatized people at risk of or affected by HIV, and the LGBTQ+ community. One person in particular inspired Jessica’s work.

“For me, it was losing my uncle to AIDS after he entered the justice system and was unable to access his meds. A broken system killed him. I’m living that legacy.” – Jessica Murphy

Jessica was a pillar of strength and encouragement for not just her friends and family, but also her colleagues. She inspired many to look within themselves to discover their “why” behind the work they do, just as she did. Jessica’s legacy lives on in their work.


TA Harp-Williams (she/her) | “I am extremely saddened and still shaken by Jessica’s unexpected passing. Working directly with Jessica as her HR Business Partner in the Health Advocacy Department, I watched her make an influential impact with her knowledge, empathy, and compassion with her employees. I will miss her smile. Jessica was an incredible human being and will be truly missed. My condolences to her family.”

Jodi Khan (she/her) | “Jessica inspired me and so many in her role at Equitas Health. She gave so much light to this sometimes very dark world. She will be deeply missed. I am blessed to have been impacted by her genuine love and empathy for others.”

Jodi Startup (she/we/they) | “We are truly saddened with Jessica’s unexpected passing. She gave much with her life spirit, was a vital force in creating change and supporting health and wellness. Her work made such an impact on so many. Hoping good memories of time well spent can bring ease and peace to all who love her.”

Shelly Bell (she/her) | “Jessica truly touched the hearts of many. Wishing love, support, and comfort to her family!”

Julio Muteithia (he/him) | “I had the pleasure of working with Jessica briefly at my current job. The kindness and warmth she exuded combined with her self-confidence and empathy were inspiring and I will always remember her for this, though I knew her for a short period of time. I will always keep her memory alive inside my heart as a possible model to be a beacon of change and optimism. I keep her friends and family in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that we can all receive the comfort and care needed to endure on.”

Kiara Wharton | “Sending my condolences to this family. Jessica was one of the only people that I could truly be myself with. She allowed me to talk about my faith freely without judgment. That touched someone like me deeply because I know how it feels to go through life and feel things at a deep level and to only have certain souls and the creator carry you through. She always lets you see her for her true self and for that I will be forever grateful. It saddens me that others won’t get to experience the bright light you shined on the world. Rest peacefully, until we meet again.”

Danithea Pierre-Jacobs | “Thank you so much, Jessica, for being our light. Thank you for paving the way. Thank you for your guidance. You planted MANY seeds. WE LOVE YOU. Rest on. Prayers and condolences for the family.”

Mel Clay (he/him) | “My deepest sympathy for your loss. May you all find strength and comfort during this difficult time.”

Aliza Mann (she/her) | “Sending much love to Jess’ family and loved ones. I had the privilege of knowing Jess through work as my Director. She was one of the most empathetic and compassionate people I have ever known. The positive difference she made in the lives of clients and coworkers is tremendous. She will be so missed.”

Holly Watt (she/her) | “Jessica was a beautiful soul who impacted so many lives. All my sympathy & love to her family, friends, and colleagues. ❤️”

Colby Tarrh (he/him) | “I am so heartbroken to hear of Jessica’s passing. She volunteered to give me direct supervision, despite having a full plate as our director, after my supervisor left. During that time, I got to know what an incredible social worker and human being she was. She will be so missed. Wishing comfort to her family after this devastating loss.”

Amy Heid (she/her) | “I am heartbroken over Jessica’s passing. Although she was my supervisor briefly, she made a lasting impact through her compassion, integrity, and by always showing up for others. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I hope your memories of Jessica comfort and keep you during this time and always.”

Bryan Richmond (he/him) | “My heart is truly saddened to hear of Jessica’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with Jessica as she was my director of Health Advocacy. I have never met someone with so much true compassion, dedication, and empathy for those clients she encountered. That compassion, dedication, and empathy was also extended to those who worked with her. Jessica will truly be missed.”

Jessica would often say that social workers, like her, are paid in the stories of those they help. Thank you, Jessica, for being a part of our story. We will miss you dearly.

To view Jessica’s obituary, and to share your support, click here.