Kristine Fortman, PhD

Kristine Fortman, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

As the CEO for MHIF, Kris provides visionary direction for the achievement of the organization’s mission, strategy, goals and objectives. She believes strongly in the legacy of innovation and collaboration. Every day, the MHIF vision of creating a world without heart and vascular disease is front and center.

Prior to joining MHIF, Kris served as the Director of Global Engagement at Medtronic Philanthropy. Under Kris’ leadership, Global Engagement underwent phenomenal growth and demonstrated impressive impact on communities around the globe. At the heart of Kris’ focus was the activation of 86,000 employees who channeled their time and resources toward health-focused community development and social investment.

Kris has built a track record in building effective teams, leading strategic initiatives, engaging diverse stakeholders, and translating complex science into meaningful stories. This is evident from her time building a research portfolio at HealthPartners Research Foundation, leading a team of scientists at Medtronic and most recently in her leadership at Medtronic Philanthropy.  In her professional and personal life, she serves as a passionate advocate for improving community health.  She currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross, and an ex-officio member on the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation Board.

Dr. Fortman completed her B.A. at the College of St. Benedict, and holds an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. focused on Health Communication from Washington State University.  She was a Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Kris lives in White Bear Lake, MN, with her husband and three sons.

Scott Sharkey, MD

Scott Sharkey, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Scott Sharkey serves as 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, Waconia, MN.

Scott’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

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

Executive Leadership Team

Jan Dick

Jan Dick

Vice President, Human Resources

Jan Dick has spent her career helping organizations grow and achieve their vision, with a passion for building healthy cultures where employees thrive. As Vice President of Human Resources for MHIF, Jan focuses on talent management, leadership development and organizational culture.

Prior to joining MHIF, Jan was an Organizational Development Practice Leader and Consultant with The Bailey Group, a Twin Cities leadership consulting firm, where she coached organizations and leaders to achieve their highest performance.  Jan’s consulting career followed a successful career as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at American Medical Systems, Schneider and Pfizer, where she help build effective and resilient organizations during periods of significant growth and change.

A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College with majors in Psychology and Communications, Jan serves on the boards of Project for Pride in Living, Minnesota Autism Center and the National Advisory Board for the Business and Economics Department and mentoring program at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Jesse Hicks

Jesse Hicks

Vice President, Advancement and Corporate Engagement

Jesse Hicks serves as the VP of Advancement and Corporate Engagement for the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.  Jesse provides leadership to our development team and has the honor of connecting the generosity of the community to support our vision of creating a world without heart and vascular disease.

Prior to joining MHIF, Jesse served as the Senior Director of Development and Interim President for the Hennepin Healthcare Foundation at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, a position he held since January, 2015. While there Jesse and his team secured over $25M annually to support the mission of HCMC and support their patients, programs, and physicians.

With a passion for philanthropy, Jesse enjoys his role in establishing a culture of generosity and making transformational change for an organization!

A graduate of Saint John’s University with a major in Psychology Jesse lives in Mankato, MN with his wife and three children.

Rebecca Lindberg, MPH, RDN

Rebecca Lindberg, MPH, RDN

Senior Director, Population Health, Education & Communications

Rebecca has over 20 years of experience working in clinical, public health and research settings in both health care systems and non-profit organizations. In her current role at the MHIF, she serves as the Senior Director of Population Health, Professional Education and Communications and is accountable for the organization’s population health research and professional education strategic direction, marketing & communications functions and operational leadership. Her responsibilities also include overseeing and directing the Hearts Beat Back: Heart of New Ulm Project. The project, along with New Ulm Medical Center, was the recipient of the 2014 NOVA Award from the American Hospital Association and the 2014 Minnesota Hospital Association Community Benefit Award. The project was also selected as one of 10 partnerships from among more than 160 nominees to be included in a study of successful collaborative partnerships focused on improving community health by the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. In September 2016, a documentary- The Story of New Ulm: A Population Health Transformation-debuted. Rebecca and her team are frequent speakers across the nation on rural health transformation.

Previously, Rebecca was a well-regarded nutrition and wellness consultant in the Twin Cities and worked with various corporations, associations and individuals to bring innovative and practical nutrition and wellness solutions to consumers. She has also worked as a Population Health Advisor at HealthPartners, Minneapolis, MN; a clinical dietitian at United Hospital, St. Paul, MN; and the nutrition manager for the Medical University of South Carolina Heart Center. Ms. Lindberg received undergraduate degrees in Food Science and Nutrition and Exercise Science from Iowa State University. She completed her dietetic internship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri and received her Master’s in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Minnesota.

Tam O'Black, JD

Tam O'Black, JD

Senior Director, Compliance, Quality & Regulatory

In this high impact leadership position, Tam overseess the necessary processes, systems and infrastructure that serve MHIF.  She has deep experience in the areas of compliance, quality, regulatory affairs and research operations.   

With a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell, Tam comes to MHIF with greater than 20 years’ experience, which includes the roles of Director of Research at Park Nicollet and at St. Paul Heart and IRB Director at Park Nicollet.  As part of her consulting practice, Tam was involved as Special Consultant for the University of Minnesota’s HRPP in 2016 and 2017, and has provided research compliance and operations advice to companies like 3M, Medtronic and Prime Therapeutics. 

Tam lives in Hopkins, has a teenage son and enjoys kayaking.        

Lisa Tindell

Lisa Tindell

Senior Director, Research Operations

Lisa Tindell is the Senior Director of Research Operations at MHIF. In this role, Lisa is a key member of the MHIF Executive Leadership Team that drives the organizational strategy. In addition Lisa leads a large team of clinical research staff who, together, drive toward operational effectiveness and compliance while delivering on strategic goals in support of the organizational mission.

Previously, Lisa served as a Principal Clinical Research Scientist at Boston Scientific where she successfully managed the execution of clinical trials in both the domestic and international spaces. She also served as a Clinical Advisor for the Electrophysiology Division in which she’s authored worldwide pre-market and post market clinical trial protocols and regulatory reports in support of post market requirements, product approval, indication expansion and label claim support.

As a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the College of St. Catherine’s, MN., Lisa has twenty-six years of professional nursing experience in critical care settings, electrophysiology lab and cardiac rhythm device patient management as well as experience as a cardiology nurse clinician. She holds certifications in Clinical Research Coordination and Electrophysiology as a Device Specialist.

Lisa’s passions include health and wellness with a specific focus on nutrition and physical fitness along with the impact of cardiovascular health on youth. She volunteers and is the medical liaison for the Play for Patrick Foundation and serves as an Ambassador for the American Heart Association.

Lisa lives in Apple Valley, MN with her husband and is the mother to 2 grown boys. In her free time you will find Lisa running hills and timed sprints. Lisa lives out the MHIF mission professionally and personally.

Jay Traverse, MD

Jay Traverse, MD

Director of Research

Dr. Jay Traverse serves as the Director of Research at MHIF. He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division,University of Minnesota School of Medicine and Senior Consulting Cardiologist, Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Research Interests:

  • Stem Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease
  • Mitigation of Reperfusion Injury and Infarct Size
Charles Zaugg

Charles Zaugg

Chief Financial Officer

Charles Zaugg joined the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) executive leadership team as the Chief Financial Officer in March 2014.

He has over 20 years of nonprofit experience, including holding positions as CFO at Volunteers of America and as Associate Vice President of Finance at the University of Minnesota Foundation (formerly Minnesota Medical Foundation).

Charles’ areas of responsibility encompass internal and external financial reporting, budgeting, investments, tax, human resources, information technology, risk management and contracts.