International Association of Women Recognizes Dr. N. Karen Thames as a 2019-2020 Influencer

Dr. N. Karen Thames, Founder/Executive Director/Licensed Clinical Psychologist at The EPIC Foundation: Empowering People with Invisible Chronic Illness, joins networking organization

​​The International Association of Women (IAW) recognizes Dr. N. Karen Thames as a 2019-2020 Influencer. She is acknowledged as a leader in mental health. The International Association of Women (IAW) is a global in-person and online networking platform with more than 100 local chapters, International Chapters in several cities in China and 1000+ in person and virtual events.

“I’m pleased to welcome Karen into this exceptional group of professional women,” said IPDN President and IAW Spokesperson Star Jones. “Her knowledge and experience in her industry are valuable assets to her company and community.”

A Licensed Clinical Psychologist who also taught at the graduate level, Dr. N. Karen Thames enjoyed a successful career and a thriving practice. But after overcoming a rare, life-threatening illness, she made the decision to change course.

“I made the empowered conscious choice to not return to private practice,” she said. “I felt that my purpose was to help those who were hopeless. I wanted to positively impact chronic illness warriors everywhere and to also help caregivers and loved ones.”

Nearly three years ago, Dr. Thames, who battled Cushing’s disease and currently lives with Addison’s disease/Adrenal Insufficiency (another rare life threatening illness), founded The EPIC Foundation: Empowering People with Invisible Chronic Illness. Dr. Thames went from one end of the medical spectrum to the other, ironically, as a result of the treatment of Cushing's disease. This was a last resort effort to save her life. Even still, she must manage this illness very carefully to sustain life.

As Executive Director of the foundation, she ensures the organization is accomplishing its mission. “I manage a team of Directors who have their own teams that they manage,” she said. “We have staff and volunteers who work remotely from all over the country and also Canada. We all have a mutual goal of empowering the chronic illness community and instilling hope.”

A Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Thames specialized in trauma, marital therapy and personality disorders. Her extensive work in those areas now helps her accomplish her goals of helping those who live with chronic illness. “As a person who lives with residual illnesses even after treatment (including, Adrenal Insufficiency, Diabetes, POTS, Growth Hormone Deficiency and Hypothyroidism), I understand that the journey of living with chronic illnesses can be quite traumatic,” she said. “It may involve experiences including, but not limited to, seeking answers with no help, perhaps feeling failed by medical doctors, living with ups and downs, etc. As a psychologist, I am able to dedicate my training to empowering chronic illness warriors everywhere.”

The organization’s website provides many resources for both chronically ill patients and their caregivers, including articles on mental health, psychological issues that impact the community, and tools for thriving with chronic illness. “The people who give their talents and skills to The EPIC Foundation are amazing!” Dr. Thames said. “Ninety percent of them are chronic illness warriors themselves and yet, they give of themselves every single day. I am proud of the fact that the staff and volunteers are able to use their skills and gifts in an unconventional way.”

Dr. Thames acknowledges the love and support her husband of nearly 18 years and her two daughters have given her. Although she does not earn a salary from her work with The EPIC Foundation and it will be years before it is revenue producing, she is thrilled that she and others are able to “…use our skills and talents to give back, to change lives, and to support and advocate for the chronic illness warriors all over the world and their loved ones.”

Committed to working to create consistent streams of revenue so the foundation may continue its important work, Dr. Thames hopes to increase membership (which is free) and grow the organization by widening its reach.

“I am currently working on a book that will be published within the next year,” she said. “We are also working on a documentary. These are the things that will help to reach others, educate people about Cushing's disease, Adrenal Insufficiency, and other chronic illnesses that impact so many people across the world! This is on my huge vision board that hangs on my wall by my bed. So, even on the days when I can't get out of the bed, I roll over and can look at my vision board.”

Education & Accomplishments: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD), The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

About IAW
The International Association of Women (IAW) is a global in-person and online professional networking platform that provides women the forum, professional development and services needed to thrive in an interconnected world. Through 100+ local chapters, International Chapters in several cities in China and 1000+ in person and virtual events, members cultivate valuable connections, develop professionally, and promote themselves and their businesses. Founded in Chicago in 2017, IAW is a division of Professional Diversity Network, Inc., an online network tailored to provide diverse professionals in the United States with access to employment opportunities.

Source: International Association of Professional Women


Categories: Healthcare

Tags: Adrenal Insufficiency, caregivers, clinical psychologist, Cushing's disease, Diabetes, foundation, nvisible chronic illness, patients


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The International Association of Women (IAW) is a global in-person and online professional networking platform that provides nearly one million women with the forum, education, and services to thrive in an interconnected world.