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.

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
Joseph H. Schwartz

Joseph H. Schwartz

Joe is a semi-retired executive from the industrial automation industry, where he continues to serve in support of M&A activity and board service, balancing that with volunteer and personal interests.  He and his wife are both from the St. Louis area, and have lived in the Twin Cities since 2001, where they’ve put down deep roots and two of their three children also now live.  

Cardiac health has a personal significance to Joe, as his father passed away from a cardiac disease at age 45.  Joe was four years old.  That was in 1967, and while the body of knowledge around heart health has advanced dramatically since then, we still have a long way to go, and Joe is keenly interested in ensuring progress in the realm.

Joe received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue, and M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.

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.

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.

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
Bree Williamson, CPWA

Bree Williamson, CPWA

Bree Williamson is a strategic advisor to high net worth individuals, business owners, families, private foundations, endowments, and non-profits. She helps clients articulate vision and purpose for their wealth. Bree also serves on the board and Executive Committee for VEAP, the largest food pantry and housing assistance program in MN, as well as serving on the Advisory Committee for Venture, an organization committed to addressing food insecurity and human trafficking.

As an avid marathon runner, Bree is passionate about health, wellness, and access to equitable health resources for all.

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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