Larry Worthen

The Honourable Mayann Francis Faith in Action Award Recipient 2023

Larry Worthen has held the position of Executive Director at the Christian Medical and Dental Association of Canada since 2012. CMDA Canada represents over 1,500 Christian doctors and dentists from across Canada who seek to integrate their faith in practice. He played a pivotal role in establishing the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. This coalition’s mission was to safeguard Charter Rights related to conscience for healthcare professionals throughout Canada, as well as to advocate for improved access to palliative care for patients. Larry’s work has entailed fostering collaboration among individuals from various Christian denominations and diverse faith traditions, uniting them behind a common goal. As part of his responsibilities, he has served as a spokesperson and collaborative strategist. Since 2022, Larry has acted as spokesperson and organizer for the No Options, No Choice Project, which advocates for access to care for vulnerable patients across Canada who are a risk of choosing euthanasia because they feel they have no other options.

While Larry’s advocacy is part of his employment, his motivation comes from his understanding of the dignity of the human person, which comes from his profound faith in Christ. He has spent over a decade speaking about conscience rights, ethics, and end-of-life issues in ecumenical and secular environments. He has rallied CMDA Canada and a variety of diverse voices and organizations – both religious and non-religious – who have worked together to speak truth to power in our country.

He is a servant leader who inspires others to become servant leaders. Over the course of his work, he has borne witness to truth with grace; equipped and empowered healthcare professionals from diverse traditions and faith backgrounds to advocate for themselves and their patients; and worked to remind us all that our faith cannot be severed from our actions. Through his work, he has united people of all backgrounds to advocate for themselves in the public square.

Larry Worthen is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School (1981) and had a career in management in the not-for-profit sector and in the Nova Scotia Department of Justice prior to taking his role at CMDA Canada. He is a trained facilitator, adult educator, and mediator. Larry is married to Dr. Linda Gagnon and resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He was ordained a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church in 2012. In May of 2013, he graduated from the Atlantic School of Theology with his MA in Theology and Religious Studies. His thesis outlined the role of proclamation in the New Evangelization. Larry and Linda have two children, six grandsons and two granddaughters. He is grateful to God for the opportunity to serve in his vineyard.