The La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology recently announced that Rancho Santa Fe resident Pamela K. Wasserman, MPH, a longtime leader in health care, real estate and a variety of other businesses, has been elected to its Board of Directors.
“We’re delighted to welcome Pamela Wasserman to our board,” said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute president and chief scientific officer. “Pam has an impressive set of skills in a wide range of areas that will be of significant value to the Institute. She not only understands the world of health through her academic training and co-founding of one of the earliest HMOs, she has deep experience in starting and operating businesses and an excellent track record of raising money for nonprofit organizations.”
Wasserman is co-general partner of Wasserman Companies and will succeed her husband and business partner, Fred, who served on the Institute board for the past five years. Wasserman was born in Los Angeles, where her father worked in the exhibitor department of the movie studio RKO Pictures. Wasserman attended UCLA, receiving a BA (cum laude) in psychology and an MPH in Health Services Management.
In 1973, the Wassermans founded Maxicare Health Plans, Inc., one of the nation’s early HMOs. She served as president and director of the HMO, which grew to operate in 26 states with 7,000 employees. After retiring from the HMO in 1988, the couple would subsequently purchase Christopher Creek Winery, an award-winning Sonoma County-based winery, which they operated for 16 years. Wasserman is still actively involved in business today, owning and managing commercial and residential real estate and growing oranges in the Central Valley.
Wasserman has also been involved with a number of nonprofit organizations. She was a director of the Robert Kennedy Community Hospital, the Healdsburg Community Hospital, and a member of the Dean’s Council at the UCLA School of Public Health. She is currently a director of the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club.
With her husband leaving the Institute board, Wasserman said she wanted to succeed him so the couple could continue their involvement with an organization they have come to believe is among the most important in the scientific community. They are so passionate about the scientific mission they have directly or indirectly helped recruit a number of outstanding leaders to join the board.
“From the moment we became involved with La Jolla Institute we’ve been intrigued and excited about the groundbreaking research being conducted on the complexities of the immune system,” Wasserman said. “The Institute’s scientists are some of the most talented and committed scientists in the world and we believe they’re on the verge of coming up with actual cures for some of the most challenging diseases humans face. As just one example, Fred and I both suffer from allergies, so we’re thrilled the Institute’s leading-edge research in this area will one day soon provide us and millions of others with relief.”