The NMPRA Board of Directors consists of many 2nd-4th year med peds residents, med-peds leaders, and exceptional staff who volunteer their time outside of their clinical duties to maintain the NMPRA and ensure a strong Med-Peds community.

Positions become available June of every year. Terms vary between position.

Executive Board Roles and Responsibilities

Contact Information

Maximillian Cruz

Max was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He went to Notre Dame for undergrad where he majored in Spanish. After college he took a gap year and spent half of that year in Piura, Peru where he had the opportunity to be involved in many local community service and medical outreach projects. He then went to Cooper Medical School in Camden, NJ where he was the 2nd class to matriculate. He was drawn to the school’s mission of service to the local community. He stumbled on Med-Peds while searching all types of residency programs his M2 year. While his program did not have a Med-Peds residency, luckily for him they did have one Med-Peds hospitalist (shoutout to Dr. Nussbaum!) who also turned out to be an incredible mentor and the rest is history! Max spent last year as NMPRA’s PR secretary where he helped to grow its social media presence (#medtwitter!). He is thrilled to serve as President and his focus this year will be pushing NMPRA to come up with an approach to improve/increase recruitment of URMs into our Med-Peds field. He believes that we must create a clear and dedicated effort towards recruiting and retaining a Med-Peds work force that reflects the make-up of the populations that we serve.

Sophia Urban

Sophia grew up in Falls Church, VA, right outside the nation’s capital, before heading to the University of Virginia, where she developed a love of all things Virginia basketball (GO HOOS!). She then moved on to medical school at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA where she discovered that she enjoyed many different specialties in medicine and couldn't quite decide exactly which path to pursue. After guidance from some awesome mentors, she finally realized that the Med-Peds people were “her people,” and she left her home state for the first time to continue residency training at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. She looks forward to working with underserved populations and incorporating global health opportunities in her future pursuits. Last year she served as the NMPRA Public Relations Secretary, in which she worked to spread the word about Med-Peds across the country through various social media platforms. She is thrilled to be working alongside her colleagues as this year as President-Elect, and hopes to continue promoting Med-Peds, especially among medical students whose home institutions do not have an affiliated residency program.

Colby Dendy

Colby grew up in Round Rock, TX, just outside of Austin. She went to Baylor University for her undergraduate degree (Sic 'Em!) where she found a passion for international medical mission work and knew she wanted to pursue medicine to be a doctor for all ages. Following 4 years in Waco (pre-Chip and Joanna Gaines fame), she moved to Houston to attend medical school at McGovern (previously UT Houston). There, she discovered a love of both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and was thankful to have discovered NMPRA early on which helped her not only learn more about the specialty more, but also helped her when it came time to apply. Colby is now very happy to be a Med-Peds resident at ECU/Vidant in Greenville, NC. As NMPRA's Director of Community Service and Outreach she was able to learn more about the inner-workings of NMPRA and connect the Med-Peds community through service. Colby served as NMPRA President this past year and is excited to continue her involvement with NMPRA as Past-President. 

Jonathan Phillips

Jonathan was born and raised in rural southern Indiana. After attending a small liberal arts college, Kentucky Wesleyan College, for his undergraduate studies in chemistry, he worked at Bristol Myers Squibb in their Quality Control laboratory for two years. While he enjoyed his time in the pharmaceutical industry, he quickly realized he wanted to be more directly involved in patient care. He moved out “west” to Kansas City, MO for medical school at Kansas City University. While in Kansas City, he became a big fan of their local BBQ scene and now tries local BBQ in every town or city he visits. He is thrilled to be at the University of Louisville, where he is a third year resident. 

Adrianna Stanley
Secretary (Traditional)

A northern California native, Adrianna grew up enjoying sunny days in the Bay Area. At 18, she traded sunshine for snow boots, attending Harvard for undergrad and majoring in History of Science with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. In 2013, she completed a post-graduate fellowship in her mother’s home country of Costa Rica, where she worked to provide primary care to uninsured Nicaraguan immigrants. After this she attended Dartmouth for medical school, where she dedicated her time to serving on the Latino Medical Student Association NE executive board, further fueling her passions for health equity. In 2017, she took a brief detour to the United Kingdom, where she completed a masters at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A decade after leaving the nest and exploring the world, Adrianna has returned to her home state of California, where she is a second year Med-Peds resident at UCLA. She is thrilled to work with NMPRA this year as traditional secretary and hopes to give Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion a stronger voice within the Med-Peds community. She loves mentoring undergrads and medical students so feel free to reach out with any ideas or questions! As we say in Costa Rica – Pura Vida!

Alexis Tchaconas

Alexis is a lifetime New Yorker. She grew up in Queens and Long Island, attended undergrad at Columbia, went to med school at Hofstra/Northwell and is now in her second year of residency at Mount Sinai. Her interest in medicine developed from her brother's experience in the healthcare system as a young adult with autism. She specifically became interested in the transition of care for young adults with developmental disabilities, which naturally led her to med-peds. Her favorite thing about NMPRA is the opportunity to work with diverse colleagues from across the country who are so incredibly driven and talented! As NMPRA webmaster, Alexis is helping to manage our website and provide a unifying place for Med-Peds physicians of all stages. She is currently working to increase medical student engagement through the website by implementing a forum that medical students can use to ask current med-peds residents questions about the field. In her spare time, Alexis enjoys playing golf, cooking and exploring different neighborhoods in NYC.

Kelly Barnes
NMPRA Coordinator

While Kelly is originally from Rochester, New York, she now calls Portland, Maine her home.  She has been the Residency Program Manager for the Med-Peds program at Maine Medical Center since 2006 and became the NMPRA Coordinator in 2011. Kelly’s responsibilities include program membership management, jobs board management, and generally keeping NMPRA running on a day-to-day basis. While decidedly NOT interested in a career in medicine, Kelly would definitely choose med-peds as her specialty of choice – she couldn’t imagine working with doctors in any other specialty.

Sophie Sun
Director of Community Service and Outreach

Sophie was born in Lansing, Michigan, but she grew up somewhere in between Plymouth, Minnesota, and Thousand Oaks, California. While attending undergrad at UC Berkeley, she became active in community service as a club officer in Habitat for Humanity, and she also helped to coordinate the first 1000-volunteer event on campus known as the Berkeley Project. She subsequently obtained her PhD in chemical biology from the Scripps Research Institute before attending medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix. There, she helped with opening an interprofessional student-run free clinic, and she started an annual week-long event celebrating diversity and inclusion. She was also lead tutor at her school and editor-in-chief for the student newspaper. Now, as a Med-Peds resident at Loma Linda University, she is proud to represent the West Coast on the NMPRA board! In this upcoming year, she hopes to connect the many Med-Peds programs across the country more closely to their local communities. Outside of work, her hobbies include making ice cream, eating ice cream, and sharing ice cream with friends.

Sasha Kapil
Director of Medical Students/Recruitment

Sasha was born on the East Coast and lived in multiple states with her family prior to settling in “The Little Apple” Manhattan, KS. She attended both college and medical school in the University of Nebraska system (GBR!!) and made a big decision to leave the Great Plains to continue her education as a member of the Indiana University Med-Peds Residency program. In medical school, she was initially committed to a career in geriatrics but, in true Med-Peds form, she just couldn’t decide between taking care of adults or children after her pediatrics rotation. After meeting like-minded mentors and peers in Med-Peds, she knew it was the perfect option for her! She is passionate about medical education, working with underserved populations, and forging connections with Med-Peds residents and faculty around the country! Feel free to reach out at any time with any questions or ideas!

Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz
Director of Health Policy/Advocacy

Lao was born in Santa Barbara, California. He earned his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Colloquium in Happiness from New York University, and his MD from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. He is currently a Med-Peds and Global Health Equities resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. He is passionate about global health and social justice, and during medical school ran a student-led clinic for homeless persons and spent a year in Peru studying sexually transmitted infections among vulnerable populations. He is currently involved in work to develop cost-effective point of care diagnostics for sexually transmitted infections and resistance mutations which can be implemented internationally. He is excited to foster connections across Med-Peds residencies with the hopes of creating a network of impassioned activism.

Nick Lee
Director of Professional Advancement

Nick grew up in Winchester, VA. He went to the University of Virginia for college where he graduated in Biochemistry with High Distinction and was a Lawn Resident. Afterwards, he went to Yale School of Medicine where he wrote his thesis on oropharyngeal carcinoma that won The Cancer Prize. He chose to do Med-Peds based on the exceptional clinical acumen of the Med-Peds faculty and residents, and he couples matched with his wife (who is in Internal Medicine) at the University of Texas Southwestern! He is passionate about evidence-based medicine and clinical research, having placed into the Quality Improvement Track at UTSW, with interests in transition of care, hematology/oncology, and cardiology. Reach out on #MedTwitter @NickLeeMD!

Kate Leyens
Public Relations Secretary

Kate grew up in Rochester, NY. She traveled north to Montreal, QC where she completed her Bachelor in Science at McGill University. She then returned to upstate New York and attended medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  It was there that she was introduced to the world of Med-Peds by some visiting local Med-Peds program directors, and it was then that she realized there was a way to combine all of her interests! Kate, her husband, and her dog Pippa are now currently residing in Pittsburgh, PA where she is completing her Med-Peds residency at UPMC. Her goal is to become a combined Med-Peds academic hospitalist with additional passions including medical education, medical complexity, and transition of care. In her free time, Kate enjoys singing classical music, eating at new restaurants, and hanging out with family/friends. She is thrilled to work alongside all of the other amazing members of NMPRA this year as PR Secretary. She hopes to continue to emphasize Med-Peds as a specialty and all the amazing work that is being done in our community!

Jennifer DeSalvo
MPAC Liasion

Jen was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up as a hopeless Cleveland sports fan. She is a triple Buckeye – attending THE Ohio State University for undergraduate, medical school, and residency. Insight from witnessing interactions between her brother, a 20-year-old with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, her family, and his medical team during his transition from pediatric to adult care served as a catalyst for her desire to pursue Internal Medicine-Pediatrics. It also solidified her passion for using a bench-to-bedside approach to research to improve patient care. Therefore, she is excited to serve as the Medicine-Pediatrics Academic Channel (MPAC)​ liasion to NMPRA​ - MPAC is an online PubMed-indexed academic channel through the Cureus platform ( She is passionate about inspiring Med-Peds residents to develop and submit their original research to MPAC and excited about recruiting residents to engage in the peer review process.