The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® has deep core values in innovation, collaboration, integrity and excellence. The staff and physicians working to achieve our vision of creating a world without heart disease are passionate about their work and are leaders in their field. Currently we have two primary awards to recognize individuals for their efforts:


The Ray Bentdahl Distinguished Service Award, bestowed by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation®, recognizes an individual’s contributions to the Foundation through their accomplishments as a leader, mentor, philanthropist, educator, or researcher. This award specifically honors an individual whose achievements exemplify outstanding leadership and exceptional service to the Foundation, furthering its mission of creating a world without heart and vascular disease. The award was first awarded in September 2012. Past recipients include an esteemed group of physicians:

2012: Fredarick Gobel, MD

2013: Robert Van Tassel, MD

2014: Michael Mooney, MD

2015: Kevin Graham, MD

2016: Vibhu Kshettry, MD

2017: David G. Hurrell, MD

Profile: 2017 Award Winner

Dr. Hurrell has practiced as a cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute® for more than twenty years. During this time he has served in several leadership roles with MHI, including as Chairman of Cardiology and in roles with Allina Health, including as Chairman of the Cardiovascular Service Line.

Dr. Hurrell has also served as a valued partner with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation during his tenure with MHI, including as a Board member and co-chair of the Heartbeat Gala in 2015. In early 2017, he became Chair of Education Committee. Under his guidance and leadership, this Board committee is experiencing renewed enthusiasm and clear direction, a process has been established to streamline with physicians around education interests, and MHI physicians are more strongly engaged with education events including Grand Rounds and the Research Internship Poster Session. Dr. Hurrell is focused on ensuring educational events deliver maximum impact and financial sustainability.

Dr. Hurrell is responsive, respectful, eager to consider new concepts, and an outstanding strategist. He has quietly dedicated significant time and expertise to help MHIF succeed in the realm of education.


The Robert G. Hauser Leadership Award, bestowed by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation®, recognizes an individual who promotes visionary leadership. Innovation in clinical practice and research requires champions who take risks to identify necessary changes and create innovative solutions to set those improvements in motion. The award is given to an individual who is a catalyst in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention or treatment, is a change agent that advocates strongly for the needs of patients and the profession and who is an influencer at Minneapolis Heart Institute®, the Foundation and/or related organizations that affect the landscape of cardiovascular disease.

2015: John Lesser, MD

2016: Wesley Pedersen, MD

2017: Paul Sorajja, MD

Profile: 2017 Award Winner

Dr. Sorajja is a dedicated physician with a kind-hearted personality. He is gentle and realistic, putting patients and their families at ease – something that is very difficult to do in high-stress situations. Dr. Sorajja is known for providing his patients with the best possible treatment options and care through his commitment to cutting-edge research. His excitement about research and dedication to his craft is contagious, encouraging all around him to excel.

He advocates for patients who come to him as if they are his own family. His generous spirit extends to those whom he is unable to treat here in Minnesota, including recently traveling to Kenya where he performed angioplasties for patients otherwise unable to afford that kind of care.

Dr. Sorajja is a national and international pioneer in heart valve disease. He was the Principal Investigator of two major feasibility studies – Tendyne and Twelve. These two trials have shaped the way mitral regurgitation is treated, improving options and outcomes for the many patients impacted by this condition.