Operation House Call

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.

Operation House Call has been a popular and valued course since 1991, initiated by two professors of medicine at Boston University, including a pediatric neurologist whose brother has autism. In 2011, The Arc of Mass began OHC at Tufts School of Medicine and the Simmons School of Health Sciences. Since then, we have added Yale School of Nursing, UMASS Medical School, UMASS Graduate School of Nursing, and Harvard Medical School, totaling four medical schools and three graduate nursing schools.

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 265 (and growing) volunteer families teaching over 1,200 medical professionals every year. OHC is expanding geographically and has been featured by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Arc is actively working on legislation to support the need for this important work with our medical community.

The Arc’s Operation House Call program is seeking new self-advocate co-teachers and volunteer host families!

Learn how you can get involved with this groundbreaking program that educates future medical professionals at six major medical and nursing schools, providing invaluable guidance regarding the quality of care for patients with IDD and autism. Self-advocate co-teachers will be able to share their personal experiences in classroom Q&A settings with medical and nursing students. Volunteer host families will be matched with students to provide an inside look at the lived experiences of persons with IDD and autism and their families outside of the clinical setting.

OHC By the Numbers


Students Trained Each Year


Volunteer Families


Major Medical and Nursing Schools


Team Members

Five Key Components of OHC


An orientation class taught by a Parent Instructor, which includes a half hour of co-teaching with an individual with I/DD.


A course website with articles, community resources, videos, and a private online discussion forum for each class of students.


A two hour home visit to a volunteer host family with a student partner.


Required use of the forum for the student to share his or her home visit learning.


Feedback from their host family for each student after the home visit, and support and further resources from the teaching team in the shared class forum.

OHC Partner Schools

OHC Student Testimonials

Support OHC

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.

Donate Now

Get Involved with OHC

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 Maura Sullivan.

Contact Us

OHC In Massachusets

Maura Sullivan

OHC Program Director & OHC Parent Instructor
(781) 891-6270 x113

Ashley Waring

Family Engagement Manager

Nancy Gardner

OHC Co-teacher Coordinator

OHC In Connecticut

Susanna Peyton RN MSN

CT OHC Interim Director 2024-2025, Parent Instructor

Michelle Rivelli MD

CT OHC Parent Instructor

Kristina DaCosta

CT OHC Parent Instructor