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