About Spiritual First Aid

Our Story

Jamie and Kent met while separately deployed in Haiti helping communities affected by the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

After meeting in Haiti, they stayed in touch and soon realized they shared the same vision, a vision to see every church, organization, and community equipped to respond to trauma and catalyzed to do “good better.” 

Since then, they’ve gone on together to co-direct the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, launch The Better Samaritan blog and podcast at Christianity Today, pioneered the BLESS CPR spiritual and emotional care framework, and founded Spiritual First Aid.

We're here to help

We’ve spoken around the country at churches, community events, conferences, and summits with this key message– you can be a healing agent for those suffering from emotional and spiritual struggles and trauma.  

Thank you for your willingness to make a difference. We know it’s not easy, but it matters. Please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] if you have any questions. 

Request Speaker

Our Promise

We want you to feel confident in the help you give, so each resource we provide is biblically-informed, evidence-informed, and trauma-informed. 

Meet Jamie Aten, Ph.D

Co-founder of Spiritual First Aid. Trauma Psychologist.

Founder of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College.

Jamie Aten is a professor at Wheaton College and an award-winning psychologist, who has researched and responded to disasters and mass traumas around the globe. As both a Hurricane Katrina and late-stage cancer survivor, Jamie has experienced firsthand the healing relief of spiritual and emotional care.

He has authored and edited nine published books and over 150 scholarly publications, featured in some of the top peer-reviewed journals in the field of psychology. He is frequently cited, interviewed, and published in outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, Psychology Today, and Christianity Today

In 2016 he was awarded the FEMA Community Preparedness Champion Award at the White House. He also received the Early Career Award and Applied Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Award from the American Psychological Association’s Society. 

When he’s not researching or teaching, Jamie enjoys spending quality time with his family, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, and listening to jazz music.

Meet Kent Annan, M.Div

Co-founder of Spiritual First Aid. Humanitarian Ministry Leader.

Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College.

Before becoming a professor at Wheaton College, Kent served in local and international communities in need for over 20 years as a ministry and non-profit leader.

Kent’s humanitarian work has included living in England, France, Albania, Kosovo, and Haiti. He is a senior consultant for Development Associates International, which trains Christian leaders around the world. He co-founded the nonprofit, Haiti Partners. He previously served on the board of directors of Equitas Group, which focused on child trafficking issues in Haiti and Southeast Asia. 

He has authored four books, including Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly in the World. He regularly writes for publications, such as the Washington Post and Christianity Today.

When he’s not teaching or cohosting The Better Samaritan podcast on Christianity Today, Kent spends time with his family in the greater Chicagoland, shooting hoops and playing board games.

Jamie and Kent Have Served Churches, Organizations, and Communities Around the World

Jamie and Kent spent the last five years field testing Spiritual First Aid while responding to traumatic events, such as the Baton Rouge Flood, Hurricane Harvey, Aurora (IL) factory mass shooting, an earthquake in Alaska, and COVID-19, to name a few.

They've been featured on:

Request a Speaker

Invite Jamie and Kent to Speak at Your Next Event

Complete the speaking request form below if you are interested in having Jamie, Kent, or someone from our team speak at your next event on Spiritual First Aid Basics or bring a full-day in-person workshop version of the official Spiritual First Aid Certificate Course to your community.

Request a Speaker

Frequently Asked Questions   

Spiritual First Aid is owned and operated independently from the other institutions and organizations highlighted above.