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Jen Brokaw: Forthright, Kind, Passionate (& Funny!)

December 22, 2015

Jen BrokawSince I first told Jen about the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center she’s been a staunch advocate for our work and for child safety. Jen recently joined our Board of Directors so I wanted to ask her a few question so we can all get to know her a bit better. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: Tell me about your life.
A: I have been a physician for more than 20 years. I trained and worked in emergency medicine, but for the past six years, I have turned toward patient advocacy. I had a practice called Good Medicine in San Francisco from 2008 to 2014 which helped people understand options and plan for care. Now, I am working on a way to offer that program to millions of people. I live in San Francisco, not far from the The Prevention Center with my husband Allen (also a physician). We have two daughters — we sent the first off to college this fall and our second daughter is a Junior in High School. The empty nest is looming!

Q: What are you most passionate about? Why?
A: I have a strong passion for helping those who’ve been oppressed or victims of violence. I have researched domestic violence and volunteered with The International Rescue Committee (which helps refugees internationally and here in the U.S.).

My personal passion for the past few years has been swimming in the Bay. I find it to be a wilderness experience in our own backyard! I swim out of the South End Rowing Club at Aquatic Park. The South End, and its neighbor, The Dolphin Club are among the oldest athletic clubs in SF and West of the Mississippi!

Q: If you could change the world, what would you do?
A: I wish I could invent a brain chip that would increase empathy. So much of our experience in life is due to luck: where were born, when we were born, who are parents were. There are so many amazing minds in the world that don’t have a chance to reach their full potential because of circumstance, not because they didn’t work hard. If we have a chance to nurture the next Madame Curie or Nelson Mandela, or Teacher of the Year, why wouldn’t we do what we can to ensure every person has the chance to fulfill their potential?

People are the same genetically. Circumstance is what makes us different.

Q: Why did you first give to the Prevention Center?
A: I know Kate through our children who went to school together. Kate took me out for lunch a year ago and told me about the great work of the Prevention Center.

Q: Why did you join the Board of Directors?
A: I was astonished that such great work was being done for families right near my house. I feel it’s my civic and community responsibility to support such important services that are helping my neighbors in San Francisco, and to help the organization gain visibility and support for this vital work.

Q: How would you describe your personal mission?
A: I would like to be able to say, at the end of my life that I used some of my good fortune to help those who have not been so lucky.

Q: What makes you angry / sad?
A: The amount of violence in the world

Q. What makes you hopeful / happy?
A: Seeing my daughters grow into empowered women. Swimming!

Q: Lastly, what’s your favorite thing about San Francisco?
A: No major city in the world has the magic mix of stunning wilderness, top notch cultural institutions and creative, amazing food! I hope San Francisco will recommit itself to its history of being socially progressive and sympathetic toward its least advantaged citizens.

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