The Arc Of Massachusetts: Naaz Daneshvar’s Story

Photo: Courtesy of Naaz Daneshvar

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Inspired by her cousin who has an intellectual and developmental disability, Naaz Daneshvar has spent the past few years working to improve medical school curriculum. 

Daneshvar is a fourth-year student at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester. In her first year, she said she “developed an optional elective on caring for pediatric patients with medical complexity.” 

“I then decided this is such an important topic that it really shouldn’t be an elective, it should be something that students at UMass Medical School get to experience as a group at large,” Daneshvar said. 

Taking her mission to the next level, Daneshvar teamed up with The Arc of Massachusetts Operation House Call. They then worked to get it incorporated in UMass’ first-year curriculum, which they managed to do for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

Read More: The Arc Of Massachusetts: Advocacy For Families At A Pivotal Time

“Getting to hear as many patient experiences as possible I think is really invaluable,” Daneshvar said. 

In the curriculum, patients and parent advocates share their personal stories of challenges. Then each student makes a house call. 

The patients and parents can talk about “their experiences in the medical field, both positive and negative, as well as just open the floor up to questions in a more intimate setting,” Daneshvar said. “Giving them the platform to do it in a small home visit environment seems to be really effective.”

Through the hard work and lobbying by the Arc of Massachusetts, Operation House Call was signed into law this year and is funded through FY2024 in the state's new fiscal budget.

The Arc of Massachusetts is celebrating its 70th year with a gala on Nov. 9, 2023. The non-profit is dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click here to learn how to donate.

WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports:

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