Since its inception as a national organization, LMSA has used its leadership structure to ensure its programming succeeds and reflects the needs of its members across the United States.
LMSA National Executive Committee
Larissa De Souza
Larissa is a rising fourth-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. As a first-generation college and high school graduate, she is passionate about reducing health disparities, empowering students who are underrepresented in medicine, and advocating for Latinx and minority communities. Having served as a Health Advocate for Planned Parenthood for three years prior to medical school, she hopes to continue to advocate for reproductive justice and health as an Obstetric Anesthesiologist. Larissa is currently involved in interdisciplinary research at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Women’s Health Institute, focusing on improving perinatal outcomes within communities of color. Through her leadership roles she has also promoted vaccination clinics and created solutions to decrease vaccine hesitancy throughout Northeast Ohio. During her free time, Larissa enjoys trying new cuisines, planning group activities with her friends, and learning about new trends in fashion and cosmetics.
John Paul Sánchez, MD, MPH
John Paul Sánchez has worked extensively to promote diversity and inclusion in the medical and academic medicine workforces. He is Co-Founder/President of BNGAP Inc. Since 2009, BNGAP has become nationally recognized for developing the concept of pre-faculty development and has collaborated with 70+ academic health centers to educate trainees, faculty, and senior administrators on how to develop the upstream pipeline of diverse medical trainees to become future faculty and senior academic leaders. In 2020, BNGAP launched the National Center for Pre-Faculty Development to support institutions in integrating Pre-Faculty Development as a new approach towards diversifying academic medicine. He is Executive Director of the Latino Medical Student Association Inc., the largest Latino medical student association in the country with 170+ chapters at allopathic and osteopathic medical schools across the country. In 2017, he led the development of the LMSA Faculty Physician Advisory Council, which has grown to 400+ advisors/physicians and recently launched the National Center for LMSA Leadership and Advancement (2021) consisting of 22 collaborating institutions. He has served as the Chair of the Council of Residents and as Founder of the Council of Young Physicians of the National Hispanic Medical Association. He also served as Secretary on the Board of the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS). Since joining the Health Sciences Center (HSC) at the University of New Mexico he has been selected for numerous leadership positions including as Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for DEI, whereby he supports HSC entities in planning, organizing, and aligning DEI activities. He has published 57 peer reviewed publications and served as Editor for a book entitled Succeeding in Academic Medicine: A Roadmap for Diverse Medical Students and Residents, Co-Editor for a book titled The Health Professions and Academia: A Guide to Healthcare Leadership Careers and Co-Editor for a book titled Latina/o/x/e, Hispanic or of Spanish Origin+ (LHS+) Identified Student Leaders in Medicine: More Than 50 Years of Presence, Activism, and Leadership. He received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, completed his residency training at Jacobi/Montefiore, and is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. He completed a MPH at the Yale School of Public Health. He is of Puerto Rican ancestry, gay-identified and was raised in the Bronx.
Rosemary Vergara earned her B.S in Biology with a double minor in Public Health Science and Biotechnology from Santa Clara University. After graduation, she spent four years in the Blish Lab at Stanford University School of Medicine, with an emphasis on studying Natural Killer cells. She received a Masters in Biomedical Sciences from Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine and is now a second-year medical student.
Rosemary is passionate about health disparities, health inequity, and low-income health care. She joined the Holodick Lab and is working with post-doctoral candidate Dr. Webster, focusing on B-1 cells. In her free time, Rosemary serves as the Vice President of Operations with the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) National. Her heroes include her parents and her little sister Diana.
Darisel Ventura Rodriguez
My name is Darisel. Currently a rising 4th year medical student. I was born and raised in Bonao, Dominican Republic. I come from a family of self-starters, and strong-willed women which has laid the foundation for my determination in pursuing a medical career. I am the first one in my family to go to medical school and I took a nontraditional path to get here. I earned my bachelor in Physiology and Neurobiology, then worked in health care and as a flight attendant before earning my Master prior to starting medical school. I have a passion for mentoring rising medical and pre-medical students, increasing visibility of our LHS+ medical students, and helping our underserved communities.
Fabiola Plaza is a third-year medical student at the Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Native to Venezuela, she grew up as one of seven children in south Florida. Fabiola began playing the viola at a young age and attended a middle and high school for the performing arts. She then attended Columbia University, majoring in Neuroscience and Music. While at Columbia, Fabiola discovered her love for medicine and giving back to the community. Her current research interests involve childhood health disparities in mental health services, health provider bias against those who are justice-involved, and the effects of gun violence in health care. When she is not busy studying, you can find Fabiola playing viola in the New York Reparatory Orchestra, being very competitive at Bananagrams and any other board game, or completing another 1000+ piece puzzle.
LMSA Regional Co-Directors
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Ana Maria Viteri
Medical College of Wisconsin
Jesús Bazán Villicaña
Washington University in St. Louis
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington-DC
Drexel University College of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and U.S. territories in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands)
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Nicole Serrant Ayes
Ross University School of Medicine
Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and U.S. territories in the Pacific
University of California San Francisco
Midwestern Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
LMSA National Operations Committee
Chief Development Officer
Deniz Goodman is a medical student at the Boston University School of Medicine, having completed his undergraduate studies through the accelerated medical program with a double major in psychology and medical science. He was one of 4 fellows selected to join the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Student Outreach and Research Fellowship for the class of 2024 and was also one of 30 scholars chosen for the Health Equity Leaders Program class of 2023.
Nationally, Deniz has presided as Chair of the New England Journal of Medicine Research Symposium, held at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine during the 50th Annual LMSA Northeast Conference. He has served in a leadership capacity in several organizations, most notably the American Medical Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and Latino Medical Student Association.
In addition to his advocacy in organized medicine, Deniz has a longstanding commitment to promoting health equity and advancing medical education through service and research. He has co-founded the Boston Sight Savers organization to establish vision screenings at homeless shelters in his community and has presented his research at conferences internationally, garnering honors and awards throughout.
My name is Kailee Bunte, and I am currently a second-year medical student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. I am Mexican-American from Yuma, Arizona and attended college at Northern Arizona University as a first-generation student. Growing up, my parents worked at a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation center which peaked my interest in addiction as well as the medical conditions that related to it. My personal experiences have instilled a strong passion to fight for health equity in traditionally marginalized communities, which is something that I hope will be a large part of my career as a physician.
Chief Information Officer
First generation Panamanian-American born in Hollywood, FL. Lived in Panama until the age of eight, and spent the rest of my childhood in Davie, FL. Graduated from the Florida State University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Sociology. DO Candidate at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. Lover of all foods, plant care, travel, and weightlifting. Passionate about increasing diversity and representation in medicine.
Julisa was born and raised in Richmond, CA and is a proud Mexican-American and first-generation high school and college graduate. Julisa received her Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience at Belmont University and her Master’s of Science in Pharmacology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She is now in the Class of 2025 at Georgetown University School of Medicine and currently a part of the R25 Miami Otolaryngology Surgeon Scientist Training Program at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial as she works to become an Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeon. She is passionate about increasing diversity in medicine and surgical specialties, mentorship, and health equity.
Research and Analytics Chair
Current MD-PhD Candidate at WSUSOM in the lovely city of Detroit. Raised in Ciudad de Mexico and having slowly made my way west from Upstate NY to SE Michigan, I’m a biomaterials engineering turned hopeful Physician-Scientist who has a terrible time saying no to a plethora of new projects, though this does mean I get a chance to work with the most amazing people imaginable. Also proudly serve as student liaison for the Medical Organization for Latino Advancement (MOLA) and the National Association for Medical Spanish (NAMS). Orgullosamente Mexicano.
Donald Rodriguez, PhD
Donald Rodriguez, PhD, is a rising 8th year student in the University of Chicago’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). A proud Dominican American from central Massachusetts, Donald majored in Biochemistry and Psychology at Yale, where he received a research fellowship to investigate T cell activation in autoimmune disease. In his graduate work, he continued pursuing immunology research, studying how self-reactive immune cells develop, function, and are kept in check. Outside of the lab, Donald actively participates in admissions & recruitment initiatives, student affairs, and several Pritzker intramural sports teams. Additionally, as part of the Latino Medical Student Association, he works to increase diversity and inclusion among trainees at all levels of medical education. While still entertaining several possibilities for a medical specialty, Donald envisions a career in which he can engage deeply with patient care, translational research, and medical education as a future academic physician-scientist.
Sinibaldo Romero Arocha
Sinibaldo Romero Arocha (Sini) was born and raised in Venezuela. After high school, he moved to the US and spent most of his adult life in the Midwest. Sini recently completed his pre-medical training at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is currently pursuing a D.Phil. at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Sini is passionate about mentoring premeds, fostering medical Spanish education, and engaging in med ed initiatives. He was the Co-President of his LMSA chapter and is presently transitioning into the Scholarships Chair at the national board. Outside of work, Sini loves to travel, read, and cook.
LMSA National Programming Committee
Programs & Events Liaison
Abril Rodriguez Medina
I’m a third-year medical student at MSUCOM with a passion for improving healthcare access for underserved Hispanic communities in the US. Originally from Mexico, I moved to the US in middle school and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. In addition to my academic pursuits, I am actively involved in various community outreach programs that focus on health education and preventive care. Through my experiences and cultural background, I have developed a deep understanding of the specific needs and barriers faced by this population and strive to work alongside other healthcare professionals to address the unique challenges faced by underserved Hispanic communities. I am committed to making a lasting impact by advocating for policy changes and implementing initiatives that promote health equity.
Enrique Cazares-Navarro is a third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine pursuing a medical degree with a certificate in Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved. He is passionate about DEI initiatives, mentoring students underrepresented in medicine, public health, and family medicine. His upbringing as a first-generation, low-income queer graduate student has inspired his health disparities research through the NIH-funded Research to Reduce Disparities in Disease program.
He received their undergraduate degree in Biology with honors on a full-ride scholarship from California State University, Fresno, and a graduate degree in Community Health and Prevention Research from Stanford School of Medicine. During his medical school career, Enrique has served as president of the LMSA Grand Rapids chapter, mentorship co-chair for the LMSA Midwest region, member of MSU’s Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, curriculum development committee board member for the Western Michigan Health Careers Pipeline Program, and volunteer at the Flint Latinx Technology and Community Center.
Maria is a native born Colombian who grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She is passionate about providing comprehensive care to underserved patient populations and incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into all aspects of medical training. She is currently in her fourth year of medical school at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine where she has served as Diversity Representative for her class and Community Service Liaison of her LMSA chapter. She is excited to bring her experiences to LMSA National to equip our membership with resources to be leaders in Medical Education. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2018 with a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology and will be applying to Pediatrics Residency during the 2023-2024 application cycle.
My name is Chris Perez. I am a first-generation Guatemalan and the oldest of three. I am an OMS3 at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California interested in surgery. My path to medicine was non-traditional, graduating from California State University East Bay in 2014 and working in biotech for seven years before going to Touro. I also have a family, getting married to my longtime girlfriend in 2022. I have a twelve-year-old son, another one on the way this year, and two dogs, a three-year-old golden retriever, and a one-year-old boxer.
Health Advocacy and Policy
Melanie Valentín is a third-year medical student at MSU College of Human Medicine. She grew up in Southern California and is proud of her Mexican-Puerto Rican roots. Her experiences growing up in an immigrant family instilled in her values of service, community, and equity. She is excited to bring her experiences with advocacy and health policy to the national LMSA board to empower Latinx medical students to become leaders and advocates.
Born in Oklahoma and raised in Mexico City, Paul is a first-generation college graduate and rising third-year medical student at OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Throughout her career, she has advocated to address the health disparity gap that currently exists in historically marginalized communities through research and community outreach.
Paul is also passionate about diversifying medicine and building supportive networks for underrepresented minority students in STEM and medicine. She is the founder of the first Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) chapter in the state of Oklahoma and later went on to serve as the Program Chair for the LMSA Southwest Region.
“The goal is not to be the one and only, but one of more to come”.
National Conference Co-Chair
David Marulanda is a fourth year medical student from New York City who attends Drexel University College of Medicine. He is the current LMSA National Conference Chair. He was the previous LMSA National Conference Chair. Prior to that he served as President of his local LMSA chapter.
David is the Editor-in-Chief of his school’s student-run literary and arts magazine. He studied Communications at Boston University focusing on advertising with a minor in archaeology.
National Conference Co-Chair
B. Marin Rodríguez is a neuroscientist interested in becoming a physician in order to help create and dispense innovative medical devices to help humanity in general, but particularly medically-underserved communities. Health equity and social justice are, have been and will continue to be life long guides during their career journey. Moreover, B enjoys stress baking, combat sports, stand-up comedy, theater and karaoke.
LMSA National Communications Committee
Public Relations Chair
Devin is a fourth year medical student at Case Western Reserve University, interested in a career in Academic Medicine and will be applying into Dermatology. He is completing a research year at the National Institute of Health, and is interesting in studying infectious diseases and oncology. He is Ecuadorean, and grew up in New Jersey and has been passionate about serving diverse communities since childhood.
John Michel is an MD-PhD student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Biomedical Engineering Department. His graduate work focuses on the role of senescence in the metastatic cascade. He also serves as the Publications Chair for the National LMSA where he leads a motivated team of medical students who publish the annual Journal of the LMSA and Residency Guide.
I was born and raised in Westchester, NY where my family immigrated from Ecuador. I attended college at Stony Brook University in Long Island and then moved to Utah for medical school at Noorda-COM.
Devina earned her B.A. in Neuroscience at Smith College, where she worked as a research aide in several neuroendocrinology laboratories and became an intern and scholar for NYU’s Project Healthcare program. After graduation, she worked as a health assistant for the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, and conducted two years of cardiac electrophysiology research at Cedars Sinai in the Smidt Heart Institute. Devina later pursued an MPH at Dartmouth College, where she focused on health inequities impacting Latino communities. Currently, she is a third year medical student at the Geisel School of Medicine and a national leader for the Latino Medical Student Association, where she leads the graphic design committee. She is committed to health accessibility and equity, the intersection between art and medicine, and providing culturally competent care in any specialty she enters!
Gabe is a fifth-year medical student in a non-traditional 6-year BA/MD program located in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Gabe is a Kauffman Foundation Scholar, a scholarship program that starts in the 7th grade and funds underserved students to pursue higher education. Gabe plans to serve his community after an Internal Medicine residency and reciprocate the support to other underserved Latino students.