Board of Directors

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) has a dedicated Board of Directors comprised of passionate physicians, community leaders and professionals. Serving in 3-year terms, the Board of Director role is an important commitment and investment of time. Some individuals first join a Committee of the Board before becoming a member of the Board of Directors. If you’re interested in learning how you may become involved, please click here.

Richard Meyer, JD

Richard Meyer, JD

Richard Meyer is president of the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation (ANWF), a position he has held since 2007. Previously, Richard was vice president of organizational advancement for Minnesota Masonic Homes and director of the Children's Theatre Company's development program. 

Richard is passionate about his role as a member of the MHIF Board because the mission to eliminate heart and vascular disease is a noble and worthy cause. He has seen firsthand the amazing impact that MHIF has had on the quality of cardiac care in our community, the region and the country and feels MHIF is a worthy and reliable partner for ANWF.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and a law degree from the University of Minnesota.

Lori Milbrandt

Lori Milbrandt

Lori Milbrandt is chief financial officer at Imricor Medical Systems and has more than 30 years of accounting, finance and HR experience. Due to her father’s heart issues, he was unable to successfully recover from early-stage colon cancer and after several months of ongoing battles, he died when Lori was 26. She shares that her choice to work at a medical device company and be involved with a world-class organization like MHIF dedicated to heart health research and education is very personal to her.

Marc C. Newell, MD

Marc C. Newell, MD

Dr. Marc Newell is a senior consulting cardiologist and vice president at Minneapolis Heart Institute®. He has special interests in cardiac CT, coronary prevention, systems of care, and physician leadership.

Research Interests:

  • Advanced cardiac imaging
  • CT coronary angiography
  • Systems of care
  • Acute heart attack care (STEMI)
  • Cardiovascular prevention
  • Structural/valve imaging
Hugh T. Nierengarten, JD

Hugh T. Nierengarten, JD

Hugh Nierengarten is a principal at Nierengarten Law, LLC. Hugh served from 2009 to 2019 on the Allina Health System Board of Directors and is excited to be able to continue to support the excellence that is the Minneapolis Heart Institute® through his service on the MHIF Board of Directors.

Hugh previously lived in New Ulm and was a member of the New Ulm Medical Center Board of Directors when the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation initially proposed and established its 10-year population health research project, The Heart of New Ulm Project. He was an avid supporter of the initiative on that board, as well as an active participant in project activities during his time in New Ulm. 

Hugh earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota and his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Peter Quimby, MBA

Peter Quimby, MBA

Peter Quimby serves as the secretary on MHIF's board. He is passionate about heart disease, being a survivor, and driving an awareness for heart disease. He aspires to live his life as an example and inspiration to others so they can live their life and understand that heart disease is, in fact, not a death sentence. He hopes to see a world where, in his lifetime, therapies exist to allow people to life a full and normal life with their native heart.

Cheri Rolnick, PhD, MPH

Cheri Rolnick, PhD, MPH

Cheri Rolnick, PhD, MPH, joined the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation Board after talking with MHIF CEO Kristine Fortman about MHIF's interest in women's heart health research. Cheri graduated from the University of MN with a doctorate in epidemiology. She was formerly the Associate Director of Research at HealthPartners Research Foundation (now called HealthPartners Research Institute). She focused on women's health and access to care. 

Retu Saxena, MD

Retu Saxena, MD

Dr. Retu Saxena is a general cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® with expertise in women’s heart disease, noninvasive imaging and critical care, as well as specific research interests related to cardiovascular risk factors that emerge during pregnancy. She has provided training to ob-gyn and women’s care practitioners to help them better manage risk among their patients as part of MHIF’s BROACH initiative (Broadening the Role of Ob-Gyns in Assessing Cardiovascular Health). Dr. Saxena was recognized as a 2020 Top Doctor in Mpls St. Paul Magazine and also Minnesota Monthly.

Research interests:

  • Nuclear medicine
  • Echocardiography
Scott Sharkey, MD

Scott Sharkey, MD

Dr. Scott Sharkey is the chief medical officer for MHIF as well as a practicing cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia.

Dr. Sharkey's research interests include:

  • Acute takotsubo (stress)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Ventricular fibrillation complicating acute myocardial infarction
  • Acute myocardial
  • Infarction in the absence of significant coronary artery disease
  • Appropriate use of troponin testing

Dr. Sharkey completed medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine followed by a residency at Maine Medical Center and fellowship at University of Minnesota.

Don Smithmier, MBA

Don Smithmier, MBA

Don Smithmier is senior director for West Monroe’s digital product studio, formerly known as GoKart Labs,a company he founded. With a background in digital technology and particularly education, Don has embarked on several entrepreneurial ventures and is also founder and executive chairman of The Big Know. He joined the MHIF Board in 2018 and has a deep passion for finding new ways to extend access to education and health services using technology.

Don earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and Executive Education from the Stanford University School of Business.

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