Board of Directors

Jason Alexander, MD

Jason Alexander, MD

Dr. Jason Alexander is a vascular and endovascular surgeon at Minneapolis Heart Institute® and researcher at Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. He serves as the Program Director for Abbott Northwestern Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Fellowship.

His research interests:

  • Vascular anomalies
  • Pediatric vascular surgery
  • Cell therapy for critical limb ischemia
  • Minimally invasive therapy for peripheral arterial disease

Dr. Alexander is also assistant professor of clinical surgery at the University of Minnesota and co-surgical director at Minneapolis Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center.

Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD

Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD

Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler serves as medical director for the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s emerging science centers including women’s cardiovascular research, prevention and global outreach. She is a general cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® who is passionate about a healthy state of wellbeing — body, mind and spirit — and is a national leader in integrative medicine and wellness.

Dr. Jordan Baechler previously served as the assistant commissioner for health improvement for the State of Minnesota and also helped grow and lead the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health. She has served on the national prevention committee for the American College of Cardiology and the MN Department of Health State and Prevention of Cardiovascular and Stroke Committee. 

Mosi Bennett, MD, PhD

Mosi Bennett, MD, PhD

Dr. Mosi Bennett is a partner and senior consulting cardiologist specializing in heart failure and transplantation at the Minneapolis Heart Institute®. Before joining the group in 2013, he trained in cardiovascular medicine and advanced heart failure at the Cleveland Clinic. He completed his internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He received his bachelor's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and received his MD and PhD degrees in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Dr. Bennett's cardiovascular research interests include the role of endomyocardial biopsy in the diagnosis and management of heart failure, the effect of mechanical support on gene expression in the heart, and the effectiveness of remote monitoring of heart failure patients. 

He has had the opportunity to work closely with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation as a mentor for the internship program, and as an investigator on multi-center clinical trials and investigator-initiated projects. As a heart failure cardiologist, he has been particularly interested in developing a robust heart failure research portfolio at the foundation in order to meet the needs of heart failure patients across the spectrum of severity of this chronic disease. It is equally important to him that the foundation works to address the disparities in health care, including inequities in participation in clinical trials and access to world-class care. 

Gretchen Benson, RDN, CDCES

Gretchen Benson, RDN, CDCES

Gretchen Benson is program director for the Penny Anderson Women's Cardiovascular Center, where she oversees efforts to educate more women about heart disease and its risk factors through a variety of community education events and research studies. She also oversees the Nolan Family Cardiovascular Center’s operational strategy, including investigator-initiated research studies, professional and community education. As a dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist, she has research interests in nutrition, behaviors and population health. She currently serves on the American Diabetes Association’s professional practice committee tasked with updating the Standards of Care in Diabetes, as well as the MN Department of Health Statewide Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Committee.

Conley Brooks, MBA

Conley Brooks, MBA

Conley Brooks, Jr. brings almost 40 years of experience in family office leadership and organizational vision to Sawmill Trust Company, of which he is Executive Chairman. He has had primary leadership roles with the Brooks Family Office and its successor Sawmill (1982-present), as well as with Resource Trust Company (1992 -2001).  This experience, and his service on a variety of boards and investment committees, has formed his deliberate and balanced approach to decision making and his ability to synthesize complex issues.

Mr. Brooks received his BA from Yale and his MBA degree from Harvard.

M. Nicholas Burke, MD

M. Nicholas Burke, MD

Dr. Nicholas Burke is a cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® and MHIF researcher. He specializes in interventional cardiology, including the treatment of chronically totally occluded arteries and cardiovascular emergencies, particularly myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).

Research interests:

  • Chronic total occlusions
  • Acute coronary syndromes
  • Systems of care
  • Interventional cardiology
Alan Carlson, JD

Alan Carlson, JD

Alan Carlson is a trial lawyer specializing in intellectual property litigation and currently heads the Carlson Caspers law firm. Alan previously served as CEO of two major intellectual property law firms in Minneapolis and during his 50-year career he has tried a number of medical cases. He is fascinated by the sophisticated research conducted by MHIF and has a particular interest in his service on the Research Committee of the Board of Directors.

Alan is a recipient of the Outstanding Mechanical Engineering award from Purdue University; is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers; and has been designated a “Minnesota Icon” by Minnesota Lawyer and Finance & Commerce magazines. 

Juleen Christopher, PhD, BCC

Juleen Christopher, PhD, BCC

Dr. Juleen Christopher has dedicated her professional life to matters of social justice and health equity. This has included working with individuals to support them with cultural knowledge and societal context in their efforts to realize personal growth and self-efficacy. She is a cognitive behavioral research scientist with over 20 years in academic medicine and the healthcare industry. During her professional tenure in the healthcare industry, she provided training, leadership and oversight for two multimillion-dollar programs including a state-wide Congressionally funded program that ensured basic public health services to economically disadvantaged families.

Her passion and professional activities have been focused on developing training and educational programs, workshops, conferences, and behavioral interventions to benefit minorities, minority women with breast cancer, veterans and young adults. She has conducted research both nationally and internationally examining best practices for positive and sustained health behavior change. She has published scholarly articles and technical reports on topics such as improving patient/provider communication, shared healthcare decision-making, health literacy and chronic disease management in minority communities. She currently provides life coaching and research consulting services, an area in which her expertise is sought out. Her charitable involvement includes participating on several boards, and volunteering as a mentor and coach with a non-profit organization for undergraduate students, who require training and education in professional development skills to be mastered at paid internships within fortune 100-500 companies and non-profit organizations.

Dr. Christopher completed both Bachelors and Masters degrees at The University of Alabama in Huntsville in Experimental and Bio-psychology.  Her PhD in Health Promotion/Health Education was earned at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Postdoctoral work was completed at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Additionally, she holds a board certification as a Professional Life Coach from the Institute for Life Coach Training.

Christopher T. (Kit) Dahl

Christopher T. (Kit) Dahl

Kit Dahl is a general partner in Forum Investments, LLC. Forum owns and operates radio tower sites and commercial real estate, and makes investments in leveraged buyouts.

Kit has spent the majority of his 30-year career founding, acquiring and running numerous distribution, marketing, communication and entertainment-related businesses. Most recently he was CEO of Intelefilm, the country’s leading producer of animated and live action TV commercials. Prior to that, he was CEO of Children’s Broadcasting, which he formed in 1985 to purchase major and small market radio stations. During this period, he developed the nationally acclaimed network known as “AAHS World Radio,” the country’s premier radio network devoted exclusively to programming for children 24/7.

Kit’s volunteer activities have included University of Minnesota CLA Advisory Board, Children’s National Film Festival, Association of Publicly Traded Companies, Entertainment Executives for MADD and numerous local civic organizations.  He is a member of the World Presidents/Young Presidents Organizations.

Kit and his wife, Deb Hopp, live in Orono and have two sons and two daughters.

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