About The Desert Heart Foundation

The Desert Heart Foundation, an Arizona 501(c)3 Corporation, was conceived in 1991 as the North Tucson Heart Center Foundation, supporting education, research, and community service in North Tucson, Arizona.

The Desert Heart Foundation continues its non-profit commitment through the support of local, regional, and global medical education and research. Focusing on novel projects and initiatives that can be applied to reducing the impact of cardiovascular disease, the Desert Heart Foundation is engaged in innovative activities, improving quality of life and enhanced longevity.

The Foundation accepts and acknowledges financial support it receives as gifts as well as tuition and participation fees from its meetings, conferences and other ancillary events.

Dr. Goldfinger trained in Adult Cardiovascular Disease at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He has been in practice in Tucson, Arizona, USA for 32 years. Responsible for bringing new technology to his community, he pioneered the first stress-echo lab in Southern Arizona, and has been a leader in interventional cardiology having performed some of the earliest coronary and peripheral procedures in his community. Despite a busy clinical practice, Dr. Goldfinger has served in several administrative roles such as Chief of Cardiology, Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Chief of Staff, Board Trustee of local community hospitals. He sat on the local research Institutional Review Board, and several community foundations. During his tenure as a busy practitioner, he continued independent clinical research and has been involved in teaching throughout his community and as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. He has been an invited speaker throughout his clinical career on contemporary cardiovascular subjects, both locally and abroad. He initiated and chaired a national cardiology symposium for primary care physicians for 13 years consecutively and continues to chair an International bi-annual meeting on red wine polyphenols and cardiovascular disease, an area of personal research interest. Dr. Goldfinger is a founding member of the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research of the Institute of Lifestyle & Health, Boston University School of Medicine. In addition to articles and abstracts published, He recently published a book in 2006, and contributed an invited chapter to Cardiology Clinics of North America. Dr. Goldfinger is founding physician of the Desert Heart Foundation and its Director of Research. With his guidance, the Desert Heart Foundation has expanded its research and education reach around the globe.

Mr. Waters is a seasoned veteran of the American Healthcare system having been involved in marketing, publishing, and operations over the past 3 decades. He is past CEO of the largest Orthopedic practice west of the Mississippi river, and previously had served similar administrative roles in other medical practices. He founded a successful consulting firm and has personally engaged healthcare practices and industry over the past several years as a senior consultant. He is partner and Chief Financial Officer of an Arizona post-secondary healthcare college. Mr. Waters had helped found the Desert Heart Foundation and continues to be instrumental in its ongoing operations and activities.

Board of Advisors

Steve Bossé is a partner at law firm Bossé Rollman PC. His practice focuses in the areas of creating and advising health care professionals, business transactions, estate planning and exempt organizations. Steve represents individuals and business organizations in connection with the formation and operation of businesses and general business matters.

Julie Crane is currently a Practice Manager for Community Health Systems, Tucson, Arizona. She has over 30 years of healthcare experience and has been employed in a great variety of medical management assignments over her tenure at Community Health Systems Inc., Northwest Medical Center Tucson, North Tucson Heart Center PC, and Desert Cardiology of Tucson. She has been a consultant and director for the Desert Heart Foundation since its inception, having participated and managed several of its continuing education programs and research initiatives. Julie's experience both in the healthcare industry and her personal experience with the Desert Heart Foundation continues to enrich its programs and catalog of initiatives.

Mark A. Metzger, Certified Public Accountant, is a Partner at Metzger, Klawon & Fox PLC. He has extensive experience in all areas of tax accounting, including tax & business planning, multistate, foreign & related party income tax and IRS representation. Mark specializes in small business, partnership and corporate income tax. He serves a wide range of clients in public and private industries. His client base includes medical and dental practices and professionals, small business owners and retirees, real estate professionals, engineers and attorneys. Mark received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Illinois State University and is licensed as a CPA in Arizona. When Mark is not helping clients build their financial future, you can find him spending time with Jill on his boat, traveling, and playing golf.

Stephanie Mitchell is currently the Director of Member Leadership at the American College of Cardiology. She has twenty-two years of senior experience in developing and managing CME programs with progressive management and organizational responsibilities, eighteen years experience in public affairs and writing news and educational materials, and fourteen years of medical association experience.

Dr. Marvin J. Slepian is Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and BioMedical Engineering at the University of Arizona and McGuire Scholar in the Eller College of Management, also at Arizona. Dr. Slepian presently directs the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation and teaches a university-wide course annually on Innovation, Translation and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Slepian also serves as Adjunct Professor at several Universities including StonyBrook in BioMedical Engineering and UMDNJ in Oral Biology. Dr. Slepian is Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of SynCardia, having served as founding President and Chairman for over a decade. Dr. Slepian received his AB in Biochemical Sciences and Science in Human Affairs from Princeton in 1977 and his MD from the University of Cincinnati in 1981. He completed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine – Bellevue Hospital, where he also served as Chief Resident in Medicine. Dr. Slepian completed both a clinical and research fellowship in Cardiology and Cardiovascular BioMedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins. He completed a second fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic and was appointed as Research Associate in the Division of Heart and Hypertension Research and Artificial Organs. He completed additional post-doctoral training in Polymer Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Washington University and MIT. In parallel with his clinical career Dr. Slepian has had a synergistic career in basic and translational research and technology transfer. At the basic level his laboratory has focused on three main areas: 1. the role of cell-matrix interactions in vascular disease and 2. the role of physical forces in modulating cell behavior and 3. the utility of polymeric biomaterials to modulate cell-matrix interactions as well as serve as novel therapeutic structural, barrier or drug delivery materials. On the translational level his lab has developed many novel therapeutic solutions based on polymeric biomaterials which have found their way into clinical use today including: drug-eluting stent technologies, stent coatings, “polymer paving,” surgical anti-adhesive barriers, synthetic tissue sealants, myocardial revascularization and cell delivery methods and cardiovascular prosthetic devices, including the total artificial heart. As to technology transfer Dr Slepian has founded several medical device companies as spin-outs including Focal (NASDAQ), Endotex, Angiotrax, Hansen Medical (NASDAQ), Arsenal, 480 BioMedical, MC10 and SynCardia and has been involved with bringing many new devices through the FDA regulatory process into clinical use, including most notably the total artificial heart. Dr. Slepian is the author of numerous publications and patents in the fields of vascular biology, polymeric biomaterials, local drug delivery and artificial organs. He is an active reviewer for several journals and is a consultant for academia, industry and governmental agencies. He is presently on the board of directors of several medical device companies. He has received multiple awards for his academic and translational research activities and has been a frequent Visiting Professor and Lecturer in Medicine (Cardiology), Biomedical Engineering and Innovation, both nationally as well as internationally. Dr. Slepian is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and president of the International Society of Mechanical Circulatory Support.

Hoang Thai, MD FACC FSCAI, is a respected Cardiologist in Tucson, AZ specializing in complex coronary intervention and new technologies, and past core faculty in Cardiovascular Disease and Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Dr. Thai graduated from University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1992 and has been engaged in clinical practice, research and innovation, and teaching for 25 years.

Past Director of Interventional Cardiology at the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona, he currently practices at Desert Cardiology of Tucson and is Director of The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and its Interventional Cardiovascular Program at CHS Northwest Medical Center, a tertiary care center for the communities of Southern Arizona.