Dr. 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. Lou is a founding member of the UC Davis MIND Institute, the State of California's First Five Commission, and the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.
From 2000 to 2015, Lou worked as one of the most senior staff members in the Legislature as a senior policy consultant for three consecutive leaders (Senators Burton, Perata, & Steinberg) of the California Senate. In 2009 Lou established the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders. The Committee, which was chaired by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, provided the impetus for 51 separate legislative measure, 26 of which were signed into law.
Dr. Vismara is currently serving as a consultant for AKT Investments, which with the UC Davis Health Systems, is seeking to establish an integrated, health-focused community for individuals of all abilities across the lifespan. Lou has also been retained by the CA Community College Chancellor’s Office to establish an innovative employment/vocational training program for neurodiverse students, which will provide services and supports for older adults.