Meet the NWFC Executive Board

2022-2023

Co-chair

Kasey Kruse

Columbus Grove, Ohio


Growing up in a small town, I have always been taught the importance of service to my community and others. After first volunteering at the Near West Free Clinic, I realized that there is no better way to combine my dedication to service with my love of medicine. The NWFC's mission to provide quality healthcare to those in need closely aligns with my own goals as a future physician. I look forward to expanding our reach and continue providing care, compassion, and service to the people of the Indianapolis area.

Co-Chair

Taylor Hiland

New Palestine, IN


Near West Free Clinic's mission to serve the underserved population of the city of Indianapolis is one that is close to my heart. Apart from my undergraduate education, I have always lived in or near Indianapolis and want to see every resident of the city thrive. To have the opportunity to give back, serve my community, and provide care for those who might not have the ability to receive care, is something that I am extremely grateful for. In addition to serving my city, I also am very excited to be able to create a unique experience for my fellow medical students of the present and the future, and to create an exciting, fulfilling, and beneficial encounter with patients to help them develop into the best future physicians that they can become.

Director of Volunteer Recruitment

Karoline Orloff

Chicago, IL


When I first heard about NWFC, I couldn’t wait to volunteer! Near West Free Clinic’s mission and values reflect that of my own, which is why I think I’ve been so driven to be a part of it. The incredible impact that NWFC has and can continue to have on our surrounding community is inspiring and worth acknowledging. I love that not only do we get a chance to help our fellow community members, but we as students get a chance to practice what we learn. We get to be reminded of why we are doing what we are doing, all while getting to better know the community we are going to serve in the future. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Saturdays. I look forward to seeing the good that Near West will do in the future!

Butler Volunteer Coordinator

Kathleen Ellis

Indianapolis, IN


A desire to build relationships with patients is what led me specifically to the Physician Assistant role in healthcare. Creating connections and being a conduit for patient education is part of being a PA, and this principle is worked into the mission and values of the NWFC. Working at the clinic has been one of the most rewarding things I have done as a student due to the reach it has for members of the Near Westside of Indianapolis.

Co-Director of Cultural Relations

Jessica PAkonen

St. Paul, MN


I have always made a conscious effort to be involved in my community and join endeavors working to improve healthcare equity for underserved populations. This mission is what brought me to decide to pursue medicine, so coming into medical school, I knew that I wanted to continue this passion. This is why I became involved with NWFC. The clinic offers care to all who walk through the door, but it also has provided me and the student volunteers an environment to directly interact with community members in a healthcare setting. I’m very excited to work with the Cultural Relations team to upkeep the clinic’s Spanish-speaking resources, and also to get further involved in the clinic to help continue and build this essential community resource!

Co-Director of Cultural Relations

Alex Abatayo

Avon, IN

Growing up speaking Filipino as my native language in the US, I understood the language barrier that many people in our community face in getting the care they need. Getting involved with the NWFC has given me the opportunity to help address that barrier and attend to the underserved population in the community. Being able to improve my medical Spanish and use it to help people has been very rewarding. I believe that providing culturally competent and humanistic care to all people will bring about trust and better medical care to their mind, body, and spirit. Making connections with the patients and witnessing them achieve their best health at the NWFC has been very humbling and keeps me grounded in my goal of becoming a future physician!

Director of Communications

Amber pilch

San Diego, CA


I was drawn to Near West because of its mission to provide accessible healthcare for all. As someone who was raised in a family of immigrants, I understand the hardship that many of our patients are faced with trying to navigate the health system along with a language barrier. I love having the opportunity to serve those who need it most while also growing as a student doctor. I believe there is nothing more important than providing quality healthcare to all members of our community, regardless of their circumstances, and I am proud of the work the clinic continues to do to promote the health and well-being of everyone in our city.

Director of Patient Experience

Marie George

Indianapolis, IN


As much as I am passionate about medicine in general, I am also just as passionate about there being quality medical care for all people. Knowing firsthand the difficulties, financially and otherwise, that can come along with seeking medical care in the United States has fueled my desire to serve such communities as the one here at NWFC. I am very grateful to be a part of the NWFC team and look forward to expanding our reach!

Director of Supplies

Emre COskun

Ankara, Turkey


My passion for primary care is what first led me to volunteer at the Near West Free Clinic. As a future primary care physician, I want to provide access to and improve the health of as many patients as possible. Volunteering at Near West has been an eye-opening experience that gave me the opportunity to learn more about the causes and consequences of limited access to healthcare in the community that I want to practice in, in the future. I value this because finding the right resources for patients can make a big difference in their ability to access care. I look forward to serving as the Director of Supplies and working with our team to help run the Near West Free Clinic!

Co-Director of Community Outreach

Maggie Drake

Zionsville, IN


Learning from my community is very important to me. I knew when moving back to the Indianapolis area, it would be important for me to have opportunities outside of school to learn about the needs in the community to prepare myself in a career as a physician. After volunteering at the clinic and interacting with the patients, I knew I wanted to return and learn not only how I could improve my interaction and communication with patients, but also learn the stories of our patients. In my position as community outreach co-chair, I look forward to working more closely with the Near West residents and learning how we can better provide for the community.

Co-Director of Community Outreach

Joseph Gonsiorowski

Indianapolis, Indiana


Growing up on the West Side of Indianapolis, the near west communities are very dear to my heart. Experiencing some of the same adversity that many of the residents in the area endure is what motivated me to become a physician in the first place. Throughout college, I was searching for ways to give back to the communities that I share so many memories with. When I discovered my love for biological sciences and further learned about the health disparities within certain parts of the city, becoming a physician and serving these underserved areas became a passion of mine. I am very excited to step into my role as co-chair of community outreach because I cannot wait to make deeper, stronger connections with the Near West communities. I look forward to continuing to aid in providing healthcare and advocacy for the populations in which the clinic serves!

Director of Fundraising and Donor Relations

Noah Rench

Indianapolis, IN


I began my journey into medicine with the intention of providing quality healthcare to the underserved populations in the greater Indianapolis area. The Near West Free Clinic does this while also providing a place for students to nurture their passion to serve. My goals for the future are to work in a low cost healthcare setting that can make a positive long standing impact in the community around me. This is a great opportunity to have a front row seat to the maintenance and growth of a free clinic such as NWFC. I am excited to work with the providers, our executive board, and the community to help continue the tremendous progress of this clinic.

Co-Chair Advisors:

ANDREA VELAZQUEZ & GAIL ENRIGHT


Cultural Relations Advisor:

Alejandro Carrasco