West Lafayette campus opens new Student Outreach Clinic for the medically underserved
As a former cheerleader and a high school assistant cheer coach, Briana Rayman has learned the importance of building trust. When performing a stunt, a “flyer” must trust her teammates providing support.
Now a second-year medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine—West Lafayette, Rayman is building a different kind of team—one that seeks to earn the trust of Lafayette’s medically underserved community and provide marginalized individuals with dignified health care. Following years of groundwork from previous student leaders, Rayman is now coaching the opening of the new Crossroads Student Outreach Clinic at IU Health Arnett Hospital as the clinic’s president.
This free, monthly health clinic is a collaboration between IU School of Medicine and IU Health and is staffed by physicians in the Family Medicine Residency at IU Health Arnett. It provides a needed community service along with a service-learning opportunity for medical students and residents.
“We are working with people experiencing homelessness and setting up a clinic where they can talk to a health care professional about concerns, get screenings like blood pressure checks, and begin to build a medical record, which is important for people who may not have seen a health care professional in years,” Rayman said. “If they don’t have health insurance, we can be there for those gaps. We don’t want them to go without health care.”
This year, IU School of Medicine—West Lafayette initiated the Excellence in Action award to honor someone who exemplifies the school’s core value of excellence. Rayman was the first recipient. She also received the school’s 2023 Distinguished Community Engagement Award for her volunteerism, involvement with community organizations and advocacy for neighbors’ needs.
“Briana provided leadership for the opening of our new Crossroads Student Outreach Clinic, has worked on many of our local student and community outreach events, and has stayed involved in her community by coaching cheerleading at her high school alma mater,” said Matthew Tews, DO, MS, associate dean and director of the West Lafayette campus. “She has strived to do her very best in all these activities and has invested her time and energy to make our campus and community the best that it can be.”
Along with Rayman, student leaders for the outreach clinic include vice presidents Alexa Jauregui (personnel), Charan Kanthala (finance), Jinan Ayub (operations), Manahil Nadeem (outreach) and Megan Sullivan (communication). Past presidents are Jordan Thomas and Nabia Khan.
Carrie Wirth, MD, associate program director of the Family Medicine Residency at IU Health Arnett, sees the Crossroads clinic furthering IU School of Medicine’s Strategic Plan goals of maximizing learner success and improving the health and wellness of the people of Indiana.
“I have been excited to see the impact our residents have on the local community, develop outreach opportunities, and collaborate with the IU School of Medicine—West Lafayette campus,” Wirth said. “This venture with the Student Outreach Clinic was the perfect opportunity for seeing these dreams come to fruition. Medicine is best learned and practiced as a team.”
Along with Wirth, Rayman works closely with Kuvera Sikhakhane, MD, a second-year resident who serves as chair of community advocacy and outreach for the residency program.
“The collaborative effort thus far has been amazing,” he said. “And, as a family medicine resident, it’s been great introducing medical students to the realm of primary care for marginalized populations.”
Sikhakhane said Rayman is a capable leader who takes on formidable tasks with “unwavering determination and grace.”
“Supported by an enthusiastic group of student leaders, her leadership prowess shines brightly, rendering collaboration with her an absolute delight,” he said.
Helping build healthier lives
Rayman sees managing the Crossroads clinic as a way to serve her hometown. The daughter of a trim carpenter and a hairstylist, Rayman attended Lafayette Central Catholic Jr.-Sr. High School, then earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology at IU Bloomington before returning to Lafayette to study medicine at the IU School of Medicine regional campus located at Purdue University.
Growing up, she mostly avoided the busy Purdue campus, but now, as part of the Student Outreach Committee, Rayman regularly engages with undergrads in Purdue’s pre-health care professionals club, teaching them basic clinical skills.
“Sometimes in medical school, it’s hard to see what I’m studying come to life,” Rayman said. “I become more engaged in what I’m studying by teaching it to someone else.”
Her teaching mindset comes in handy when working with the cheer team at Central Catholic. In addition to time spent studying for medical exams and managing the Crossroads clinic, Rayman keeps busy with weekly cheer practices and games.
The theme for all of her activities is team building.
“With a new clinic, there is no shortage of work to go around,” observed Wirth. “Bri is a strong leader who leads by example and holds herself to the high standard of performance that she expects of her team.”
One of the biggest tasks for the new clinic is building recognition and trust within the community it’s designed to serve. Rayman and Nadeem, the vice president of outreach, visited Lafayette Urban Ministries—an organization tackling basic human needs—and spoke with individuals experiencing homelessness as they gathered for a meal.
“They took time to discuss the importance of routine physicals and seeking medical care, while offering free services through the Student Outreach Clinic,” Wirth said. “They were able to recruit three new patients for the clinic.”
Rayman is excited to see the clinic’s new clients building individualized plans for healthier living.
“I like sitting down and talking with people, hearing their stories and establishing trust, so we can help them be at their healthiest and live their best lives,” she said.