We sat down with Board of Trustees Chair Martin “Marty” Pasqualini to discuss his longstanding relationship with Joslin Diabetes Center, the many exciting changes underway, and how philanthropy is a large part of the institution’s lifesaving work.

Can you share how your relationship with Joslin came to be and how it has evolved?
My original association with Joslin came about twelve years ago when I was diagnosed with adult-onset type 1 diabetes. A few months after my diagnosis, I started my care at Joslin. The care I received here transformed my life—it was not long before I felt physically better and the hope for my future returned. From the beginning, my care team was right there with me, cheering me on and assuring me that things were only going to get better. Joslin truly saved my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.    

Over time, I started to think about Joslin in a different, more philanthropic way, and developed a deep affection and affinity for the institution itself outside of my care. Through attending Joslin events and the growth of my family’s support of the institution, I was asked to take on a larger role about four years ago. Since I took over as board chair in October, so many exciting developments have occurred as we move forward as part of the Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH) system. It is quite fitting, as we have been neighbors with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) for so long. These coming years will be truly exciting for Joslin.  

Can you speak about why Joslin’s mission and impact is so meaningful?
We have an amazing brand at Joslin—Dr. Elliot Joslin was a pioneer in diabetes research and treatment. When I was first diagnosed and quite unwell, I had this epiphany about how lucky we are in Boston to be surrounded by remarkable medical institutions, Joslin being one of them.  

Joslin functions as an incredible research center with faculty who are known nationally and internationally. At the same time, Joslin provides clinical care that is cutting-edge and personalized. There is a wonderful totality to the approach—it is about diet, behavioral and mental health, lifestyle modifications, and the incorporation of technology that dramatically increases the quality of life of its patients. These advances in care are all backed by cutting-edge research, much of which is made possible by philanthropy.   

You spoke about the fact that you have witnessed tremendous change at Joslin—including becoming part of BILH. Can you speak to the impact of this growth?
Now that we are part of the BILH system, we are poised to bring Joslin’s expertise to so many more people who previously did not have access to Joslin’s comprehensive approach to diabetes care. Our affiliation with BILH creates both a very special opportunity and challenge. At the recent High Hopes Gala, Dr. Kevin Tabb spoke about how important Joslin is to BILH and how much Joslin has to offer. It is wonderful to have BILH supporting our mission and giving us the opportunity to leverage our care model to benefit a larger population.  

An important thing to note is that even though Joslin has experienced much change over the past few years, the culture has stayed the same. There is something incredible about all the people who work at Joslin, many of whom have been there for years. There are multiple instances of staff members who left Joslin only to return because nowhere else is quite like it. At Joslin, there is an unwavering belief in the mission which is essential to our ability to provide the excellent care that we do, every day.   

As you look to the future and all the excitement around Joslin, why is philanthropy so important?
Philanthropy has a part in everything at Joslin—these resources allow for Joslin’s researchers to discover treatments and technological advances, which immediately inform patient care. Philanthropy is an essential piece of the organization. It creates the opportunity for people with diabetes all over the world to live a better life. On behalf of the organization, I am so grateful to our generous donors who care deeply about our mission.

What do you do when you’re not working or leading Joslin efforts?
My family always comes first. My wife, Kathy, is very supportive of both my work and philanthropic endeavors. It is a team effort. I love spending time with my family traveling and love playing golf with my son, Michael, and friends. Professionally, I began my career as a project finance lawyer. I have worked for over two decades as an investment banker specializing in renewable energy finance. The energy transition is near and dear to me, and the ability to address climate change through my professional activity is very gratifying. 


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