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.

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 265 (and growing) volunteer families teaching over 1,200 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 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

Enhancing Care for People with Autism and IDD in the Emergency Department

The training page is based on The Arc of Massachusetts’s Operation House Call program, in conjunction with a project funded by the WITH Foundation. It was developed with colleagues from The Arc of the United States and The Arc of Oregon. The goal is to ensure equity and quality health care for people with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), especially those with other marginalized identities.

Visit the Page

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 Kim Walsh.

Contact Us

OHC In Massachusets

Maura Sullivan

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

Kathleen Amaral

OHC Family Coordinator

Julie Coppenrath

OHC Co-teacher Coordinator

OHC In Conneticut

Susanna Peyton RN MSN

CT OHC Program Advisor & OHC Parent Instructor

Carolyn Cappiello RN

CT OHC Program Co-Director & OHC Parent Instructor

Andrea Finnegan

CT OHC Program Co-Director & OHC Parent Instructor

Michelle Rivelli MD

CT OHC Parent Instructor

Kristina DaCosta

CT OHC Parent Instructor

CT Families: become part of OHC in CT! Contact Carolyn Cappiello at cappiello@arcmass.org to find out more.