Panel Biographies

Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD, MS

Medical Director of Health Equity and Health Promotion

Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler serves as program director for the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s emerging science centers including women’s cardiovascular research, prevention and global outreach. She is a general cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® who is passionate about a healthy state of wellbeing — body, mind and spirit — and is a national leader in integrative medicine and wellness. Dr. Jordan Baechler previously served as the Assistant Commissioner for Health Improvement for the State of Minnesota and also helped grow and lead the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health. She has served on the national prevention committee for the American College of Cardiology and the MN Department of Health State and Prevention of Cardiovascular and Stroke Committee.

Kristine Fortman, PhD

Chief Executive Officer
Kris Fortman has served as chief executive officer for MHIF since 2015 and serves as ex-officio for MHIF’s Board of Directors. She 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, Dr. Fortman served as the director of global engagement at Medtronic Philanthropy. Under her leadership, Global Engagement underwent phenomenal growth and demonstrated impressive impact on communities around the globe. At the heart of her focus was the activation of 86,000 employees who channeled their time and resources toward health-focused community development and social investment.

Dr. Fortman completed her bachelor’s degree at the College of St. Benedict, and holds an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. focused on health communication from Washington State University. She was also a policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 

Elizabeth Grey, MD

Cardiologist & Researcher

Dr. Elizabeth Grey has been a cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute® since 2004 and has special research interests in women’s heart health (including spontaneous coronary artery dissection), general cardiology, echocardiography, cardio-oncology and nuclear cardiology. She is frequently interviewed by the media about women’s heart health and her passion for bridging the gap in research between men and women. She was recognized as a 2020 Top Doctor in Mpls St. Paul Magazine and is the only female cardiologist ever to serve on the Executive Committee of Minneapolis Heart Institute®.

Retu Saxena, MD

Cardiologist & Researcher

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.