About Us

The Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center serves as a vital resource for policy makers, agency directors, line staff, researchers, and educators as they search for ways to reduce domestic violence. The Center focuses on protecting the rights, safety, and well-being of victims of abuse and neglect in all of its many forms. Interdisciplinary collaboration across Penn's campus is a cornerstone of this unique Center.

Please note that the Ortner Center does not provide direct or emergency assistance (e.g., shelter, counseling, legal advice) for victims of violence or their families. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please refer to our Resources page to locate the appropriate agency.

Our work is guided by the pioneering spirit of Evelyn Jacobs Ortner, who established the Center through a gift to the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Please click on the following links to learn more about her and her years of providing no-cost services to battered women:


Susan B. Sorenson, PhD

Faculty Affiliates
Kathleen Brown, CRNP, PhD
Peter Cronholm, MD, MSCE
Richard J. Gelles, PhD
Toorjo Ghose, MSW, PhD
Jeane Ann Grisso, MD, M.Sc.
Christopher Mallios, JD
Karin V. Rhodes, MD, MS
Marilyn (Lynn) S. Sommers, PhD, RN, FAAN
Anne M. Teitelman, PhD, CRNP

Research Affiliate
Annet Davis-Vogel, RN, MSW, CCRC
Melissa Dichter, PhD
Christine M. Forke, MSN, RN, CRNP
Gloria Gay, MSW

Student Affiliates
Tugce Ellialti
Su Kyung Kim
Angelina Ruffin
Rui Shi
Elizabeth Sivitz
Jingwen Zhang

Alumni Affiliates
Matt Amalfitano, BS (Health & Societies, 2011)
Thesis title: For better or for worse? Campus newspaper coverage of sexual assault

Julia Bohinski, PhD (Nursing, 2012)
Dissertation title:  Examining the influence of family and mother-daughter communication on teen dating violence victimization among economically disadvantaged urban adolescent girls

Tiffany Dovydaitis Kim, RN, WHCNP, PhD (Nursing, 2011)
Dissertation title: Somos hermanas del mismo dolor: We are sisters of the same pain: Intimate partner sexual violence narratives among Mexican immigrant women in Philadelphia

Janine Everett, MS, RN, PhD (Nursing, 2011)
Dissertation title: Variability of skin viscoelasticity in women across the continuum of skin color

Manisha Joshi, MPH, PhD (SP2, 2011)
Dissertation title: Attitudes towards wife-beating among women in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan: An empirical examination using multiple indicator cluster surveys

Kristie Thomas, MSW, PhD (SP2, 2011)
Dissertation title: Homelessness and domestic violence: Examining patterns of shelter use and barriers to permanent housing