Board of Directors

Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.

— Nelson Mandela

With the growing population of aging citizens and citizens with mental wellness issues, the need for the ground-breaking approach to education, eldercare and mental care services is enormous. Therefore, we need leaders that help the Institute in the amplification of our teachings and promise to bring the greatest growth in our ability to replicate and scale up our vital services. To help us reach our goals, Pacific Institute is fortunate to be guided by a Board of Directors that represents high-caliber professionals in the field of education, mental health, and gerontology and by elders from the community who belong to our Elder Advisory Council. Both governing bodies help us further our mission of teaching new perspectives on wellness and raising societal awareness to build healthier communities.

Nader Shabahangi

Founder of Pacific Institute and AgeSong Institute. Co-Founder of AgeSong Senior Communities. Co-Founder of Elders Academy Press. Licensed psychotherapist and noted author. Guest lecturer at international conferences focusing on aging, counseling, and dementia.

Nader received his doctorate from Stanford University and is a licensed psychotherapist. His multicultural background has made him an advocate for different marginalized groups of society throughout his adult life.In the 1980′s he worked with abused children and teenagers and led anticipatory bereavement groups for Coming Home Hospice. In 1992 he founded the non-profit organization Pacific Institute with the purpose of training psychotherapists in a multicultural, humanistic approach to counseling and to provide affordable therapy services to the many diverse groups living in San Francisco. In 1994, noticing the often inhumane treatment of the elderly living in institutions, he started to develop an innovative Gerontological Wellness Program in order to provide emotional support and mental health care services for the elderly. In 1997, together with his two brothers, Nader opened a residential care home for the elderly in San Francisco called Hayes Valley Care, where he could along with the Pacific institute Internship team implement the Gerontological Wellness Program.
Nader continues to create programs with the purpose of caring more comprehensively for the elderly. In 2002 he helped found Pacific Institute Europe in Warsaw, Poland, in order to bring gerontological and comprehensive care services to the European continent. He was also inspired to explore new ideas for community living and began design of a ‘village’ concept for older adults he calls ‘Elders Academy’. In 2003 he co-founded Elders Academy Press, a publishing program of Pacific Institute and Pacific Institute Europe, specifically dedicated to promoting writings of and for elders. At the same time Nader also began a program of conflict resolution between Russians, Germans and Poles. Last year – combining his passion for the elderly with his love for photography and philosophy – Nader wrote Faces of Aging as a tribute and celebration of being an elder. He continues this exploration through teaching ‘eldership’ workshops in Europe. These meetings explore the difference between getting ‘old’ and growing into the role of an elder and have the purpose of preparing us for old age and eldership. He continues his work by training interns and supervisors in a humanistic-existential approach to psychotherapy and living.

Patricia Copass

Founder of Aging Communications. Facilitates open dialogue and communication with adult children and elderly parents. As a private consultant provides services to organizations serving the elderly in a variety of environments. Board member of Seniors, Inc focusing on raising awareness and funds for the building of a multi-purpose center for elders in a multi-use location in Northern California.

Patricia has over 25 years experience working with older adults, their family members and professionals in a variety of environments including home care, independent and assisted living, as consultant to senior living organizations, and as a private consultant facilitating communication between elders and their family members.
Patricia’s interest in serving elders began as a child accompanying her physician father on house calls to his many elderly patients, and was inspired by the healing that took place by the interaction and connection along side of modern medicine. She was later moved to study gerontology after a second return to college as an adult. Her elderly-focused career began with Hospice of Metro Denver, and upon moving to California became involved in independent and assisted living communities as both Executive Director and Regional Marketing Director for both non-profit organizations and private companies. She spent many years on the California Assisted Living Board where she focused her attention on educational issues for health care providers working with the elderly. She worked with the committee that was instrumental in bringing about hospice regulations into assisted living and board and care homes allowing end-of-life care to be supported in those environments.
Patricia joined the Pacific Institute Board in May of 2010 and is currently a board member of Seniors, Inc.

William Foster

Community Liaison Director of Jewish Home San Francisco. Jewish Home is a 430-bed skilled nursing facility, which serves the Bay Area with our STARS – Short Term Rehabilitation Unit and Acute Geriatric Psychiatric Hospital.

William grew up in a small west Texas town with his mother, sister and grandmother where he learned early on about the importance of being of service to others. His grandmother served and retired from the Department of Health and Human Services, Foster Care division. His mother worked for many years as a high school English teacher and teaching adult education while achieving her M. Ed. at Texas Tech University. His sister is a psychotherapist in the Dallas – Fort Worth area. William completed his Interdisciplinary Minor in Substance Abuse Studies through the Center for the Study of Addiction at Texas Tech University. William has been richly rewarded as he has found opportunities to serve those suffering with the disease of addiction. William found his passion for service to the aging population when he accepted a position as Activity Director in a nursing home in the mid-90s. Since then William has served the long-term care community in both California and Texas . Prior to Jewish Home, William served as Regional Director of Sales and Marketing with SAVA Senior Care. William says the most rewarding part of his service to the community is to be an advocate for those that may not be able to advocate for themselves.

Masha Levinson

Masha has been a business person in San Francisco for over 20 years ever since she emigrated from St. Petersburg. As a self-made businesswoman, Masha embodies the American dream as someone who began with practically nothing in her twenties and built a small company in finance and real estate. Along with her husband Leon, she is the mother of a by now beautiful young woman who has been traveling the world and studying to become a veterinarian.

Patrizia Alioto, MS

Patrizia Alioto completed her Master’s degree at Stanford University becoming a Physician’s Assistant and working for over twenty years in various medical practices in the Bay Area. For more than 10 years Patrizia managed Bay Medical Clinic, a medical practice in San Francisco, where she oversaw not only medical procedures and care, but also the operations of all facets of the medical business. She is the proud mother of four children and married to Chris Alioto.

Alan Klaum, MA, Ph.D. cand.

Alan Klaum holds degrees from Colombia and his masters from Tufts and Harvard Universities. Alan was an international consultant in the Middle East and Asia, and has been a member of the Pacific Institute Board since its inception. As a movie buff, Alan was instrumental in helping create the First International Film Festival on Aging in San Francisco in 2009 and also recently the Legacy Film Festival on Aging in 2011. He is the author of Men and Women in their Fifties.