Dr. Gena Castro Rodriguez has spent her career transforming systems to help survivors access justice, heal from trauma, and reach their potential. In 2000, as the Director of Youth Services at Mission Neighborhood Centers in San Francisco, Dr. Castro Rodriguez created the first intensive case management program for girls and young adults at risk for and experiencing domestic violence and exploitation.
In 2003, Dr. Castro Rodriguez teamed up with then-City Attorney Kamala Harris, Esta Soler of Futures Without Violence, Eunice Azzani of Korn Ferry, and the United Way of the Bay Area to start the non-profit Girls Justice Initiative to help the growing number of girls enmeshed in San Francisco’s juvenile justice system. The organization serves thousands of girls and young women throughout California who are incarcerated at local and state juvenile justice facilities. Dr. Castro Rodriguez helped create a gender and trauma responsive clinical program to provide individual and group therapy for incarcerated girls as well as a long-term mentoring program and court advocacy program.
Since 2014, Dr. Castro Rodriguez has been the Chief of Victim Services for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She oversees services for more than 8,000 victims of violent crime each year and formed specialized teams to address violence against women and children. Dr. Castro Rodriguez also trains law enforcement partners throughout the state on working with victims of gender-based violence.
The community has recognized her dedication to survivors repeatedly through the years. She has been honored by the San Francisco Police Department Special Victims Unit, the City and County of San Francisco, and the National Council of Jewish Women in San Francisco.
Her co-workers and staff say Dr. Castro Rodriguez sets the bar high for victim services. They have seen how her relentless advocacy changes lives. Yet, she always makes time to mentor staff – her door is always open for a case consult or to give a kind word. Dr. Castro Rodriguez is a great leader focused on improving the responses to survivors of gender-based violence. EVAWI is proud to honor her as a Champion of Change.