Operation House Call (OHC) teaches young medical professionals essential skills to enhance the health care of persons with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Offered by The Arc of Massachusetts, OHC turns to families, parents and individual self-advocates as educators in a health care field that seldom focuses on more than making a diagnosis. It is a rare and important training opportunity. Through OHC, students begin to build confidence and interest in working with individuals with I/DD, including autism, and their families.
At the Boston University School of Medicine OHC is a requirement for all third year medical students in their pediatric rotation; it has been a popular and valued course since 1991, initiated by two professors of medicine, including a pediatric neurologist whose brother has autism. In 2011, The Arc of Mass began OHC at Tufts Medical School and the Simmons School of Health Sciences. In the Fall of 2015, OHC began a program at Yale School of Nursing.
The Arc is grateful to our network of volunteer families. They provide the opportunity for students to have experiential learning through home visits. In Massachusetts, OHC now has 220 (and growing) volunteer families teaching over 600 medical professionals every year. OHC is expanding geographically and The Arc is working on legislation to support the need for this important work with our medical community.
OHC BY THE NUMBERS
Students Trained Since 2011
Students Trained in 2018
Major Medical and Nursing Schools
FIVE KEY COMPONENTS OF OHC
OHC PARTNER SCHOOLS
All of the participating schools provide funding toward Operation House Call (OHC). But The Arc of Massachusetts requires other support to maintain a viable, effective program - including the generosity of donors like you.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to Operation House Call, please visit our donation page or send a check to The Arc of Massachusetts at 217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453. Please include explicit reference to Operation House Call in your donation.
OHC STUDENT TESTIMONIALS
“Operation House Call was a wholly positive experience, one that I hope other aspiring health care professionals will get to have. I believe that this initiative is invaluable because it allows us to see people as more than statistics, clinical facts and diagnoses and instead get to know them as human beings. My visit helped me to clear up any misconceptions I had and to better understand how I can help provide services. I felt welcomed in my host family and honored to hear such personal and intimate details of their lives. I will be sure to use this experience moving forward in my education and practice.”
“Such a dedicated and compassionate family like this deserves an equally dedicated team of physicians to do everything possible.”
“Thank you very much for making OHC available to us at YSN. It was one of my favorite and one of the most valuable experiences of my (academic) year.”
“Operation House Call has been one of the most rewarding parts of this year…It was a great reminder of why I decided to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.”
"I feel that I learned so much... (My family) gave me a lot of things to think about regarding how I can be a better provider and care for children who have intellectual/developmental disabilities. I am so grateful to them for opening up their hearts and home to us and I have been inspired to learn about and gain more experience in working with children who have IDDs."
“Operation House Call has been one of the best experiences of my time at YSN. The training at the school was eye-opening, particularly our co-teacher. It was engaging and was good preparation before we went to visit the different homes. Meeting with (my host family) was an education experience and I will come back to that time and conversation in my practice. Thank you for putting this together and allowing us to participate.”
OHC IN THE MEDIA
WCVB: Communicating through music
March 28, 2019
WBZ: 4 Your Community: The Arc of Massachusetts
February 23, 2019
WBZ: Teens with autism educate future doctors at Boston University
November 20, 2018
Dr. Brian Skotko on Operation House Call
GET INVOLVED WITH OHC
In Operation House Call, no two volunteer families are the same, yet each family shares an important perspective and expertise about support for their loved one. All speak about their experience of health care: what has been helpful, or what has been difficult. Students learn how to learn from families in their future practice.
Young professionals gain knowledge about daily lives, modern support, the challenges, the resources and advocacy essential to best practice in health care partnership. Students practice building rapport and gaining information above and beyond purely “medical” concerns. And because the learning is done outside of a medical setting, each student has a chance to focus on these things without the stress of acute care responsibilities.
At the core of this program is the belief that families are the best teachers. Its learning objectives are relevant to all persons who have autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the families and persons who support them.
We always need host family volunteers who have children with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities; it is a two hour time commitment 1-2 times a year for families within 30 minutes drive of Boston. For more information, email Kim Walsh.