Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® Receives $5 Million Charitable Gift to Accelerate Progress in World-Class Cardiovascular Prevention Research and Education

August 3, 2020

August 3, 2020 

MHIF Establishes the Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health to drive its commitment to changing the trajectory of heart disease

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – August 3, 2020  The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF),  an internationally renowned cardiovascular research organization, announced today a $5 million charitable donation from the Stuart Nolan family to support cardiovascular disease prevention research and education that aims to change the trajectory of heart disease for future generations. In honor of the gift – matching the largest donation ever made to the foundation – MHIF is establishing the Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health.

“My personal connection to cardiovascular research started with the care and treatment I received more than 30 years ago at the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, which continues to allow me to live a full life,” said Stuart Nolan, a long-time supporter of MHIF. “My children have reached the age at which I had my first heart attack, raising the importance of understanding genetic and other risk factors that affect their heart health and underscore the importance of this work to my family. I have great faith in Dr. Miedema and his team of dedicated MHIF researchers who have shown a sincere commitment to furthering research to define the prevention and management of cardiovascular risks that affect many families.”

At a time when wellness and overall health is as important as ever, this gift will accelerate progress and innovation in research and education around how to prevent cardiovascular disease, which continues to be the number one cause of death for people around the world. This research will also address some of the challenges around health disparities by further defining and understanding risk factors, as well as identifying the best care pathways for addressing care in racial and ethnic minorities where heart disease outcomes are significantly worse than other populations.

“Our commitment to impactful, cardiovascular disease prevention research isn’t new, but this inspiring gift from the Nolan family will propel our efforts to change the paradigm from heart disease to optimal health,” said Michael Miedema, MD, MPH, director of the Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health at MHIF and director of cardiovascular prevention at the Minneapolis Heart Institute®. “The ultimate goals of cardiovascular prevention research are to identify the optimal methods to accurately assess cardiovascular risk, as well as determine the best interventions to stop the evolution to heart disease. The research is all about determining who to treat and how to treat them, which gives our patients the best chance to avoid the tragic heart attack or the unwanted bypass surgery.”

Mr. Nolan formerly served as MHIF’s chairman of the board and is the current chairman of Minneapolis-based StuartCo, a residential property management company that he founded in 1970. He has received recognition for his ongoing commitment to giving back to the community.

Dr. Miedema’s leadership in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention includes serving on the executive review committee for the 2018 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Cholesterol Guidelines and serving as a member of the 2019 ACC/AHA Committee for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. He also serves as an associate editor for the prevention section of ACC.org.

Over its 38-year history, MHIF has led groundbreaking research and education across a wide spectrum of prevention-related topics, including coronary artery calcium testing, blood pressure, cholesterol and statin use, nutrition and lifestyle behaviors, risk factors and screening for specific populations, premature heart disease and genetic disorders. New cutting-edge research planned for the Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health will focus on risk prediction and optimal prevention therapies, including:

  • Cardiovascular risk prediction studies related to coronary artery calcium and use of a novel polygenic risk score (an aggregate of risk defined by genetic markers)
  • Trials of new lipid-lowering therapies to prevent cardiovascular disease
  • A novel study to more accurately assess the rate of medication side effects
  • Trials that incorporate lifestyle as an essential component of ideal cardiovascular health

“We are grateful to the Nolan family for a gift that drives the MHIF vision of creating a world without heart and vascular disease,” said Kristine Fortman, PhD, MHIF CEO. “This significant gift will accelerate our impact in preventive cardiovascular research, including supporting the infrastructure for the research, staff and fellows to lead an accelerated pace of clinical studies.”

“The Nolan family is creating a legacy in partnership with a respected research team, whose passion for discovery will advance our mission of achieving long and healthy lives for all without the burden of cardiovascular disease,” said Scott Sharkey, MD, president and chief medical officer at MHIF. “At this moment in our history, an unprecedented pandemic has emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle; we are thankful to be able to drive this important research that will benefit our patients and their families now and for generations to come.”


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 200 research studies with more than 2,200 patients and publishes more than 200 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 10,000 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 a number of community health and education events to raise awareness of heart care and research, engaging individuals in their own health.

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


Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health

Hear more about our commitment to cardiovascular prevention research and education from Michael Miedema, MD, MPH, Director, Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health and Courtney Baechler, MD, MS, Medical Director, Emerging Science Centers


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