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.

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.

Jeffrey Steinle, JD

Jeffrey Steinle, JD

Jeff Steinle is the chair of the MHIF Board and works as an attorney at Fredrikson and Byron advising health care clients.

Jeff's passion for the health care industry developed starting in 2004, when his father had a heart attack on the family farm and was flown from his local hospital in St. James to Abbott Northwestern Hospital where he had a quadruple bypass. Jeff was practicing law at a large law firm in Chicago at the time, but while his dad was recovering from surgery, he took a job interview at Medtronic in Minnesota. He got the job and developed a passion for helping health care companies develop and commercialize medical technology, attracting investors and completing M&A transactions. MHIF is at the crossroads of his professional passion and his personal gratitude; his dad is doing great.

Benjamin Sun, MD

Benjamin Sun, MD

Dr. Benjamin Sun is a thoracic surgeon at Minneapolis Heart Institute® and MHIF researcher. He has a special interest in complex aortic and mitral valve surgery, heart transplantation, aortic root and aortic arch surgery, mechanical support, artificial heart and congestive heart failure surgery.

Professional interests:

  • Ventricular assist device
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysms
  • Surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Heart, artificial
  • Mitral valve
  • Aortic valve
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve diseases
  • Heart failure, congestive
  • Heart transplantation
Jay H. Traverse, MD

Jay H. Traverse, MD

Dr. Jay Traverse is a senior consulting cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® and the director of research at MHIF. His special interests include interventional cardiology, stem cell therapy, biomaterials and ischemia/reperfusion injury. He is also an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

Research interests:

  • Stem cell therapy for cardiovascular disease
  • Mitigation of reperfusion injury and infarct size
Raymond Yu, Ed.D

Raymond Yu, Ed.D

I am passionate about improving students’ educational outcomes through the promotion of student health and wellness practices. We know early influences can have lasting benefits, and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® is the perfect partner for educating students about lifelong, heart-healthy habits!

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