Current LMSA National Leaders

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.

2024-2025 Leaders

LMSA National Executive Committee

National President

Elizabeth Picazo, MPH

About Me

Elizabeth is a rising M4 at UCSF in PRIME-Urban Underserved. She was born and raised in San Francisco, CA with strong roots in Jalisco, México. She holds a deep commitment to serving diverse immigrant communities, especially Latine communities. Growing up, Elizabeth noted how her family and community member were often burdened by severe chronic diseases that many of her non-Latine friends’ families did not. She would later learn in college that this was due to political and structural inequities leading to the “Latino health paradox” and choices that many immigrants are forced to make to survive. Her family instilled a deep sense of service and advocacy for her community, with her great-grandfather marching as part of the United Farm Workers movement, her grandparents’ leading a group of their friends to fundraise for their hometown, Mezcala de los Romeros, via yearly kermeses, and her mother consistently playing an active role in her school’s PTA. Elizabeth has continuously served immigrant and undocumented community health since her undergraduate career volunteering with free clinics in Sacramento, CA and San Francisco, CA using her skills in Spanish. She also has advocated for minoritized students with in the UC system. She realized that she cannot divorce her clinical practice from her advocacy and interest in policy as her patients’ and communities’ health are primarily impacted by legislative and structural choices rather than personal choices. This lead her to join LMSA West as the VP of Policy as an M2 to advocate with her LMSA familia that provided instrumental support and inspiration during her early career in medicine. She decided to serve as LMSA West’s Director Elect in order to better advocate for her region and help with strategic planning for the region. Also during her M3 year, she served as the Co-President of the UCSF Associated Students of the School of Medicine. Last year, She was the Co-Director of the LMSA West Region continuing her goals to strengthen and advocate for her region and Latine communities. During this time, she earned her MPH concentrating in Health Policy at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Elizabeth is honored to serve as the LMSA National President to oversee the creation of a 10 year strategic plan, executing hiring a staff, and advocating for Latine students to secure DEI offices and address the leaky pipeline of Latine physicians to ensure that there is parity with the US population.

Immediate Past President

Larissa De Souza

About Me

Larissa is a 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. 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.

Executive Director

John Paul Sánchez, MD, MPH

About Me

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.

Vice President


Emily Rodriguez

About Me

Emily Rodriguez is a fourth-year medical student at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She was born and raised in the inner-city of Cleveland, Ohio in a single-mother household. First in her family to attend university, she attended The Ohio State University, where she majored in Chemistry and minored in Substance Misuse and Addiction. During her undergraduate career, Emily was an American Chemical Society Scholar and a National Science Foundation Research Fellow. Before medical school, Emily worked in harm reduction at Safe Point, a needle exchange in Columbus.

In medical school, Emily quickly found her home within LMSA and served as the Hopkins Chapter president and LMSA-NE Director. Emily hopes to pursue a career in adult cardiothoracic surgery and has research interests in patient safety metrics, populations-based outcomes and disparities analyses, perioperative care, and quality improvement. She is dually interested in novel cardiac surgical innovations and tracing historical precedents. Emily is a founding member of Latinos in Cardiothoracic Surgery, and she is a member of Women in Thoracic Surgery, Latino Surgical Society, and the American Osler Society.

Vice President


Benjamin Blanco

About Me

Benjamin Brian Blanco is a rising fourth-year medical student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, he earned his B.S in Biochemistry and Spanish from UNM.

His parents are Mexican immigrants and he was born and raised in a rural New Mexican town with two siblings. He is a first-generation high-school and college graduate who is passionate about addressing Spanish language barriers in medicine. During high school, college and even prior to beginning medical school, he worked in food service at his parent’s Mexican mercado and restaurant. He is passionate about teaching and mentoring rising medical and pre-medical students and plans to apply General Surgery; his interest are in Trauma and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

In his free-time, Ben enjoys snowboarding, traveling, and walking his husky, Juneau.

Vice President


Maria Vera Alvarez

About Me

Under Maintenance