Malia honors her family’s traditional Hawai’ian culture through her work as a nurse. She grew up volunteering in her community with her mother, including spending time with elders (kapuna), bringing them to appointments, and listening to their wisdom. It was through this cultural practice that she realized that she was meant to be a nurse. Her greatest desire is to give back to her community—she believes that there is nothing more beautiful than truly caring for someone at the soul level, so that they know they are seen and heard, so that they understand that they have an inherent right to have their needs met and are worthy of love. 

When Covid-19 emerged, Malia went where she was most needed: She left her position in Arizona, where she lives, and took a job as an ICU traveler in Los Angeles. Her second assignment was at Keck Hospital of USC, and there, she felt she found her people; she took a staff position. 

After the devastating fire on the island of Maui, where she grew up, Malia organized aid immediately, facilitating donations of food, first-aid supplies, and clothing. In fact, she routinely manages to do the seemingly impossible: She juggles her demanding role at Keck while commuting from Arizona, where she raises her children, as well as making frequent visits to her mother and sister on Maui. Somehow, she does it all while maintaining the highest standards, managing patient safety projects and bed capacity assignments. She continues to organize ongoing donations to Maui, where people are still in need, while also ensuring patients get the very best quality care.