The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) Young Leaders Board (YLB) is a diverse group of young professionals united to raise lupus awareness, fundraise, and advocate for lupus research programs.
The Leadership Committee spearheads the Young Leaders Board and works collaboratively with the Lupus Research Alliance to achieve its goals. Currently the Leadership Committee is comprised of the following highly active members:
Nancy Mize Gonzalez
Originally trained in classical piano, Nancy-Mize Gonzalez returned to school to take pre-medical courses, after experiencing loved ones suffering from autoimmune diseases. Fascinated by the immune system, Nancy-Mize joined the Yoder lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, studying T cells in polycystic kidney disease. Next, Nancy-Mize entered Texas A&M School of Medicine, on the MD/PhD track, and currently is studying the role of lupus T cells in driving brain and kidney involvement.
In 2020, as a second-year medical student, Nancy-Mize joined the Young Leaders Board, thrilled to help organize fundraisers, panel talks, and community events to increase knowledge about lupus and the importance of supporting autoimmunity research. Being a part of the Young Leaders Board has been an incredible and rewarding experience. The YLB is a dynamic, tight-knit, and welcoming community, filled with so many brave individuals fighting for a future without lupus. As a future physician-scientist, Nancy-Mize hopes to develop therapies to protect the brain in lupus from immune attack. When not in the lab, the library, or shadowing in the OR, you can find Nancy-Mize enjoying family time with spouse Christopher and son Baby Lucían – especially swimming, sailing, and hiking.
Martin K. Lewis is an Actor, a Lupus Patient Advocate, and a Patient Advisor, who has been living with Lupus Nephritis for over a decade. After dealing with renal failure at 10 on Mother’s Day in 2005, Martin and his mother received the official diagnosis and set off on an unexpected journey. As a man dealing with lupus, he acknowledges that this road can feel at times companionless, but through example, Martin wants to encourage men and women to live as fully as possible under whatever their current conditions are. He wants to embolden folks to engage and share with their communities and begin to cultivate new ones, spend time with loved ones, and start fine-tuning their health by eating well and moving. He wants to serve as a reminder that this condition is not an end to the story, it’s just another chapter, and there is so much more to ahead!
Sarah Schottenstein has been a longtime supporter of the incredible work of Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) and first became involved over a decade ago with its predecessor, S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. An engaged Young Leaders Board (YLB) member for many years, Sarah was appointed to the Leadership Committee in 2020. She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College and earned a B.A. in Communication Arts. She further completed a specialized training program in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Sarah has worked in Film/TV Development and Acquisitions, and she has evaluated screenplays for top production companies.
Sarah was honored to be a featured young leader at LRA’s 2021 Gala for the record-breaking $7.5 million fundraiser for lupus research. In 2019, she Co-founded the Lupus Lifestyle Series, educational panels for young leaders across the globe. The acclaimed cognitive health panel held during the peak of the pandemic continues to empower audiences with over 1,500 views. Additionally, Sarah is the 2018 Scholarship Recipient for the PA Fund’s Annual Advocacy Meeting and Hill Day in the inaugural year in Washington, D.C.
Sarah has Chaired the YLB table at LRA’s Walk with Us to Cure Lupus in New York City and looks forward each Fall to this annual event. She currently serves on the New Wave Steering Committee for the nonprofit Film at Lincoln Center. Sarah loves Italian food, watching films, seeing Broadway shows, and connecting with YLB members.
Ruth Wilson is a lupus warrior and advocate whose life’s journey has been defined by her battle with this autoimmune disease. Diagnosed at a young age, she transformed her personal struggle into a mission for change. Ruth is a dedicated member of the Young Leaders executive committee for the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA), where she also volunteers for LRA walks, rallying communities to support lupus research. Her influence extends to the Lupus Nexus – Landmark Study and the Lupus Nexus Patient Working Group, shaping the future of lupus research. As a Consumer Reviewer for the Lupus Program (CDMRP) in the Department of Defense, she allocates funding to promising research projects, and she further contributes as a member of the Patient Protocol Review Committee for Lupus Therapeutics, her involvement in this committee ensures that lupus clinical trials are designed with the patient’s perspective in mind, ultimately leading to more patient-centered research. With a background in veterinary science and data science, she works tirelessly in research institutions, aiming to advance lupus understanding. Ruth’s story is not just one of personal triumph over adversity, but also a testament to the power of advocacy and the potential for research to transform lives. She firmly believes that research is the only path to a lupus cure, and she tirelessly educates others about the disease in her quest to spread awareness. She hopes that her story will inspire others to join the fight against lupus, to advocate for more research, and to support those living with this challenging condition