On Monday, February 4, 2019, The Arc of Massachusetts Board President Deborah Norton was spotlighted in The Boston Globe‘s Metro section. The profile discusses Deborah’s lifelong commitment to ensuring adequate rights and resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities – including her own, Sam.
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.
Thank you to our sponsors in the Senate and the House for championing The Arc’s priority legislation. Currently we are working to obtain as many cosponsors as possible. Our bill platform, featured below, includes a broad scope of legislation which addresses critical needs of our community including health care, safety, education, housing, and the workforce.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Lou Sudders held her state wide stakeholder call to review the Governor’s budget, House 1. The Arc appreciates the specific attention given to the Department of Developmental Disabilities, especially in terms of the DESE/DDS program which was funded with an additional $4 million. This additional funding will translate to many families that need meaningful supports in order to avoid out of home placements.
On Tuesday, January 22, we had a successful, standing room only event at the Grand Staircase at the State House with over 100 people in attendance. It was the third year for our Supporting Families event, which allows individuals with disabilities and their families an opportunity to be supported in their advocacy with legislators. We also invited new legislators to learn about the issues, as part of our biennial New Legislator Reception. Our champion speakers, Senator John Keenan and Representative Denise Garlick, were terrific.
The base of the Grand Staircase at the State House was filled with nearly 100 families, new and returning legislators, professionals, and self-advocates on Tuesday morning. In attendance were Rep. Denise Garlick, Sen. John Keenan, Rep. Tram Nguyen, Rep. Donald Wong, Rep. Mindy Domb, Rep. Carole Fiola, Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Nika Elugardo, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, Rep. Kathy LaNatra and Rep. Tommy Vitolo.