The Indianapolis Student Outreach Clinic (SOC) is one the largest interdisciplinary student-run free clinics in the country. Open every Saturday at the Neighborhood Fellowship Church in Indianapolis’ Near Eastside neighborhood, medical students conducted over 1,500 patient visits in 2021. The SOC’s operation requires many volunteer hours outside of Saturday to provide neighbors with quality education, referrals to insurance/specialty care, and conduct public health-based research. Medical students lead teams in the domains of patient navigation, women’s health, education empowerment, research, and operations which consist of subcommittees of up to 60 students.
Hundreds of Indiana University School of Medicine students volunteer with the SOC. New this year, the SOC Awards recognize some of the Indianapolis SOC’s student leaders and volunteers. These students embodied the values of compassionate care, exemplary leadership, and loving dedication to Indianapolis’ underserved community throughout the clinic’s 2021 reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOC Student Volunteer of the Year: Jon Class
Continuity of Care co-chair is a labor-intensive, two-year role that continues to be led by dedicated student leaders. Jon not only filled those big shoes but expanded them, literally and figuratively, by exemplifying love in action. When a neighbor experiencing homelessness needed size 15 shoes, he contacted the Pacers, an Indianapolis NBA team, for shoe donations. When another neighbor had difficulty with transportation to complete paperwork for insurance, he personally visited their home to ensure completion of the documents–the box of dates he received in return highlights the gratitude our neighbors feel for Jon. Jon humbly advocates for neighbors daily, working one-on-one with them for medical and social needs between Saturday clinic days. He also works with his co-chair to lead a team of patient navigators who maintain clinic appointments and referrals, while expanding the referral reach of the SOC by establishing new partnerships with local community organizations. We look forward to Jon’s continued leadership, and now mentorship, as the 2022 Senior Continuity of Care Co-chair.
SOC Student Volunteer of the Year Honorable Mention: Aubrey Kenefick
Aubrey was a volunteer willing to advance the care of neighbors and clinic success in multiple ways. Early in 2021, she regularly volunteered as a telehealth volunteer and helped provide quality care for neighbors in a safe way, later becoming a Telehealth Clinic Manager. When able to return to in-person care, Aubrey regularly volunteered in all roles, willing to regularly care for neighbors while also problem-solving clinic issues and leading other volunteers. Aubrey’s exemplary work as a virtual and in-person volunteer resulted in her election as Operations Chair for the 2022 Medical Executive Board–a concomitantly daunting and galvanizing role that serves as the bedrock of our Saturday clinic.
SOC Resident Volunteer of the Year: Juhi Ramchandani, MD
Dr. Ramchandani exemplified excellence as a resident volunteer at the IU Student Outreach Clinic in 2021. She was repeatedly available on short notice early in the year to help fill in gaps in staffing, and then continued to volunteer regularly throughout the year. She encouraged her colleagues to get involved, resulting in many Medicine-Pediatric residents volunteering with the SOC during a time of immense need in 2021. Students consistently noted that she was a patient teacher, willing to slow down and explain decision-making to learners even during hectic clinic days. All the while, she was also a great patient advocate and was thoughtful of psychosocial factors when taking care of our neighbors. Dr. Ramchandani modeled generous, attentive and dedicated care for the underserved east-side Indianapolis community.
Student Outreach Clinic Leader of the Year: Annie Gensel
Annie has shown exemplary motivation to advocate for comprehensive patient care even prior to her time on the board. She was fundamental to the clinic’s reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic while building the new Women’s Health Coalition and simultaneously reopening a bi-monthly women’s health clinic. The Coalition she created became a group of over 60 student volunteers, some of whom also serve as coalition leadership in the domains of research, patient navigation, quality improvement, education and finance. She has essentially built a board within the Medical Executive Board to significantly expand the quality of women’s health care at the SOC. If that weren’t impressive enough, Annie has grown as a leader and visionary who knows how to actively listen, inspire, delegate tasks and ask for help. With her help, SOC leadership elected a women’s health co-chair mid-term in order to sustain the Women’s Health Coalition and clinic for years to come.
Women’s Health Team Member of the Year: Emma Steele
Emma went above and beyond this year at the clinic but in particular for women’s health patients. Emma developed the clinic’s sexual assault protocol meeting with subject matter experts to make sure that our protocol was comprehensive and emphasized trauma-informed care practices. Emma hand-selected the inaugural women’s health education team and built with her team the rigorous education resources now at the SOC’s disposal. Emma built strong and lasting relationships with her patients to the point of patients’ friends and family members requesting her as a patient navigator. Furthermore, Emma was a frequent source of encouragement for her colleagues and mentorship for younger team members.
Education Empowerment Team Member of the Year: Drashty Mody
Drashty truly exhibited the spirit of what it means to be a member of the Education Empowerment Team. She showed empathy and respect for both neighbors and fellow team members, and greeted everyone with a smile. On countless occasions, she stepped up to fill any necessary role, and everyone on the team can speak for her enthusiasm and true passion for helping others.
Research Team Member of the Year: Olivia Murray
Olivia embodies the values of the SOC’s research team, as demonstrated by her dedication to collaboration while assisting peers with work and making efforts to involve others in important projects, curiosity in brainstorming questions with the goal of better serving our neighbors, and an understanding of the importance of a the strong ethical foundation required for the multidisciplinary work being carried out at the SOC.
SOC Patient Navigator of the Year: Nirupama Devanathan
Nirupama exemplifies what it means to be a patient advocate. Throughout the year, she went above and beyond to fulfill her calling, finding new resources for our neighbors and working tirelessly to pursue new avenues to help. Her persistence and kindness broke barriers, connecting many of our neighbors with insurance, primary care providers and speciality care. It was a pleasure to have her on the team, and the year wouldn’t have been the same, nor as successful, without her.
SOC Clinic Manager of the Year: Anthony McGuire
Anthony has been an invaluable asset to the clinic manager team over the past year. He is incredibly hard-working, committed to improving the clinic, and consistently looks for opportunities to take on additional responsibilities. He is calm under pressure, and his skills are incredibly versatile, allowing him to creatively solve problems that arise and easily step into any clinic manager role.
Student Outreach Clinic Faculty of the Year: Maryann Chimhanda, MD, MS
Dr. Chimhanda took over as women’s health faculty advisor during a difficult time of clinic reopening and the rapid expansion of women’s health at the SOC. Dr. Chimhanda is known to be a mentor and teacher to all students and residents she comes in contact with and is frequently cited as the best OB/GYN faculty with whom students have ever worked. Dr. Chimhanda has a deep understanding of working with underserved and immigrant populations, which has manifested in continual improvement of patient care at the SOC. Dr. Chimhanda goes above and beyond, always being available to answer questions, and will come into the clinic on her days off just to see one patient who would not be able to make Wednesday Clinic. Her leadership, mentorship and teaching is a continual inspiration for all who work with her.
We are grateful to have worked with the SOC’s remarkable student leaders and volunteers throughout 2021, and we are excited to share in the celebration of these exceptional students whose positive impact will be felt for the years to come. From reopening and recreating the clinic mid-pandemic to fundraising for the new clinic space, we have repeatedly been left in awe by the servant leadership and fierce advocacy from our peers.
As we’ve shared before, the SOC is a very special place, because in an act of defiance, at our clinic everybody is a somebody–whether you need health care or a place to learn through service. We are also so grateful for the role this clinic plays in forming tomorrow’s compassionate professionals. During our four years at Indiana University School of Medicine, the SOC was a welcoming home that pushed us to be more empathetic healers and advocates for our neighbors. We hope the SOC continues to serve as an inclusive space for growth, learning and service far beyond 2022.
Aida Haddad, Chair, and Maria Khan, Vice-Chair 2021