On Wednesday January 30, Operation House Call (OHC) piloted a new program with Tufts Medical School and Simmons University. 170 Medical students, Graduate Nursing students, Physical Therapy and Nutrition students took part in OHC lectures taught by Maura Sullivan, Director of OHC, and Julie Heffernan, Parent Instructor. OHC has matched each TUSM medical student with 2 Simmons Graduate Nursing students and assigned these groups to go together to visit homes of our OHC host families. We are excited to bring together future doctors and nurses to hear directly from families about how to enhance care for their loved ones with autism or Down syndrome or other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The group also had a panel of co-teachers that brought family and professional perspectives. Dr. Brian Skotko, Director of the Down Syndrome clinic at MGH and a sibling, joined Beth Rimas, an EMT, a trainer for the Autism Law Enforcement Coalition, and a parent, offered the panel great insights and had students asking excellent questions.
We were also fortunate to have three self-advocates on the panel, Isaiah Lombardo and Hana and Helen Coppenrath. These individuals shared openly with the students about life, their medical care experiences, and their challenges. OHC is so grateful to our panel members. They truly made an impact in just an hour with the students, and now over 40 OHC families will host students for 2 hour visits in the coming months.
We are so grateful for our volunteer families, for our dedicated OHC team, and for the successful partnerships with our Medical Schools and Universities in Massachusetts.