Deputy State Director, California
Laura Thomas is the deputy state director, California, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She oversees the organization's municipal drug strategy work in San Francisco and leads DPA’s California harm reduction and public health legislation. She is a national leader on supervised consumption services (SCS) advocacy for DPA, heading up the legislative campaign in California as well as the local effort to open programs in San Francisco.
She has over 30 years of experience in HIV and public health policy, along with a strong commitment to community advocacy, thoughtful policy analysis, and coalition building. She first became involved in AIDS activism with ACT UP in San Francisco. Before joining DPA, she was a consultant specializing in HIV policy and planning, with clients ranging from the California State Office of AIDS to the National Association of People with AIDS. She has also worked for Tenderloin Health, a nonprofit health and social service provider serving a predominantly homeless population in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Public Policy.
Thomas has been a syringe access volunteer for more than 20 years, and helped organize a successful 2007 symposium on safe injection facilities in San Francisco. She is a proud recipient of the AIDS Hero Award from the 2000 AIDS Candlelight Memorial, and the Unsung Hero Award on World AIDS Day 2010 from the National AIDS Memorial Grove. She serves on the San Francisco HIV Community Planning Council and the Methamphetamine Task Force and previously sat on the San Francisco Cannabis State Legalization Task Force and the Supervised Injection Services Task Force. She is a member of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission.