BOA Profile

Louis A. Vismara, M.D.
Consultant with AKT Investments, INC.

Dr. Lou Vismara is a physician (retired interventional cardiologist) and a parent of four children. Since his son, Mark, was diagnosed with autism in 1995, he has dedicated himself to issues of child development, learning differences, diversity, and access to health care for under-served populations. Dr. Lou Vismara is a founding member of the UC Davis MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute, the State of California’s First Five Commission, and the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.

For the past two years, Dr. Lou Vismara served as the Executive Director of the University Development Foundation (UDF), which is focused on establishing a California campus for the University of Warwick. Currently, he is working on disability-related projects and consulting with AKT Investments, INC. to establish an integrated, planned, community for individuals of all abilities across the lifespan. From 2000 to 2015, Lou worked as a senior policy consultant for three consecutive California Senate leaders (Senators Burton, Perata, and Steinberg.) Dr. Vismara worked on a variety of healthcare policy issues, including California’s landmark autism insurance mandate bill (SB 946) that was enacted in 2011. He also launched the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, provided key recommendations on autism public policy to California’s Governor and the Legislature.

In 2009 Lou established the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders. The Committee, which was chaired by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, provided a legislative forum for research, analysis, deliberations, and outreach to better assist individuals with ASD and their families. The Committee provided the impetus for 51 separate legislative measure, 26 of which were signed into law. In 2014, Lou worked extensively with Senator Steinberg in establishing the Behavioral Centers of Excellence at UC Davis and UCLA.

After learning that his son Mark had been diagnosed with autism, he took a key leadership role in the founding of the now internationally recognized UC Davis M.I.N.D. He was a co-founder of the M.I.N.D. Institute and Chairperson Emeritus of the MIND Advisory Board. Prior to his community development and public service, Lou was a successful interventional cardiologist. He received his B.A. from Stanford University (1960) and his M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in 1968. Following a medical residency at the Methodist Hospital, he was a cardiology fellow at UC Davis Medical Center (1971-1973) and subsequently joined the UC Davis Cardiology Department faculty from 1973 to 1980. Throughout his private practice career, Lou maintained an affiliation as a clinical associate professor of cardiology at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Lou was born in Italy and immigrated with his family to San Diego as a child. He is a long-time runner completing 21 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, between 1990 and 2003.

In 2013, Lou became a member of the violin section of the Sacramento Camellia Symphony Orchestra. He was most recently appointed to the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. He has also served on numerous regional boards. On November 5, 2014, Lou was honored by the California Senate with a resolution acknowledging his “lifetime achievements and meritorious service to humanity and the people of California.”

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