Deputy Director, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Karla Thomas is the oldest daughter to her Samoan mother and Aymara father, who came to the U.S. from Vatia, Tutuila Samoa and Quime, Bolivia. She was raised on Serrano and Tongva land, in the city of San Bernardino, California. Karla serves as the Deputy Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) and has a public health background, holding a Master of Public Health with a focus on health policy. Prior to joining EPIC, Karla was co-founder and Policy Director of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) Data Policy Lab at UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research. She is also a local organizer and co-founded the Pasifika Inland Empire Coalition for Empowerment (PIECE), which serves Pasifika or Pacific Islander families living in San Bernardino and Riverside counties through direct services and local advocacy. Karla is passionate about serving the communities she is a part of as an advocate in all spaces she enters.