Dr. João Cavalcante Named Inaugural Innovation Chair of the Van Tassel Innovation Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

Sep 12, 2023
cavalcante and mhif scholars

Minneapolis –  The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF), an internationally renowned cardiovascular research organization, announced today that João Cavalcante, MD, is the Inaugural Innovation Chair of the Van Tassel Innovation Center. This Chair was established to recognize and support an Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute physician, who wishes to create a research program dedicated to a transformational approach to cardiovascular disease or prevention. Dr. Cavalcante is internationally recognized for his special expertise and research contributions in advanced cardiovascular imaging, in particular cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).

“I am honored to be named the first Innovation Chair as part of a center that is named after Dr. Robert Van Tassel, MHIF Founder and one of our greatest advocates for innovation,” said Dr. Cavalcante. “This Chair also demonstrates the value of advanced cardiovascular imaging, which is certainly at the core of innovation and a capability that continues to hold great potential in advancing care for patients across so many areas of cardiovascular care.”

“Dr. Cavalcante is a brilliant researcher, inclusive leader and widely respected clinician, in short, the perfect choice for this prestigious position within MHIF,” said Scott Sharkey, MD, president, and chief medical officer, MHIF. “We have no doubt his work will bring major breakthroughs for patients suffering with heart disease across the globe.”

cavalcante working

Dr. Cavalcante is the scientific director of the MHIF Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center & Core Lab. He also serves as the section head for cardiac imaging at Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute®. Dr. Cavalcante has published more than 200 manuscripts and 7 book chapters and speaks nationally and internationally on cardiovascular imaging. His commitment to education includes training many imaging and research fellows and leading more than 10 international hand-on workshops in both cardiac CT and MRI.

Dr. Cavalcante earned his medical degree in Brazil and came to the United States for his residency and cardiology fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital. Prior to MHIF and the Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute, he was appointed chief fellow for the two-year advanced cardiovascular imaging training program at the Cleveland Clinic and spent six years as senior faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

About the Van Tassel Innovation Center

MHIF research physicians focus on compelling frontiers of innovation and clinical areas of urgent patient need. The mission of the Van Tassel Innovation Center is to provide a financial and human resources platform for an Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute physician to create a novel and durable cardiovascular research-education program, modeled as a “think tank” for advancing cardiovascular medicine, with the goal of improving patients’ lives. By design, the Van Tassel Innovation Center will evolve to engage with, and support additional Innovation Chairs focused on key areas of expertise in research.

About Dr. Robert Van Tassel

in 1981, Dr. Van Tassel performed the first coronary balloon angioplasty in Minnesota, and he became a founding member of the Minneapolis Heart Institute® (MHI) at Abbott Northwestern. In 1982, he along with 12 other cardiologists had the vision to create the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) to solidify their commitment to cardiovascular research and education to provide the finest and most advanced patient care. Dr. Van Tassel became the heart and soul of both MHI and MHIF — providing the highest quality of care possible to thousands of patients and establishing the foundation as one of the preeminent heart health organizations in the country. He inspired his colleagues, fostered a culture of innovation and excellence in patient care, and helped propel both organizations into the spotlight nationally, as well as internationally.

About Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) strives to create a world without heart and vascular disease. To achieve this bold vision, it is dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of individuals and communities through innovative research and education.

Scientific Innovation and Research – MHIF is a recognized leader across all specialties of heart and vascular research. Each year, MHIF leads more than 220 research studies with more than 2,200 patients and publishes more than 250 articles to share learnings from research. MHIF research has improved the standard of care for patients around the world, including through the development of protocols like Level One, which continues to significantly improve outcomes and survival for heart attack patients.

Education and Outreach – MHIF provides more than 11,000 hours of education each year putting its research into practice to improve outcomes among health care providers. This commitment extends to patients and caregivers through community health and education events to raise awareness of heart care and research, engaging individuals in their own health.

MHIF’s work is funded by generous donors and sponsors and engages in cutting-edge research initiatives with its physician partners from the Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and at 38 community sites across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For more information, please visit mplsheart.org.

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Give the Gift of Hope
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The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) strives to create a world without heart and vascular disease. To achieve this bold vision, we are dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of individuals and communities through innovative research and education.

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we can continue this life-saving work. Please make a gift to support the area of greatest need.

Research Milestone: FDA approves device used as alternative to open-heart

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Triclip team

We are honored to celebrate the culmination of years of research that has resulted in new technologies for patients! In the few last weeks, we announced a similar research milestone with the FDA approval of the TriClip system for tricuspid regurgitation. We celebrated this important milestone with local media KSTP-TV, who spotlighted the importance of this new technology. We were proud to be a leading clinical site led by Global PI Dr. Paul Sorajja and the MHIF research team who contributed significant data to the pivotal trial.