About Us

Foundation Board of Directors

Chairperson of the Board

John Buck

CEO, Whitefish Ventures
Former President and COO, Fingerhut Companies, Inc.
Former Chair of the Board, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

John Buck joined the Medica Foundation Board as chairperson in 2002. In addition to serving on the Medica Foundation Board, Mr. Buck supports several charities in the Minneapolis, MN and Naples, FL areas, including the United Way Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. He is a member of the Halo Innovations Board of Directors, which develops products to prevent SIDS. Mr. Buck is also a member of the Naples Education Foundation.

Mr. Buck, the Chair of Medica's Board of Directors, joined the Board in 2001, and serves on Medica's Audit, Community & Public Affairs, Finance, Governance, and Technology Committees. Mr. Buck is Chief Executive Officer of Whitefish Ventures, which provides financial services and general business expertise to other companies. Mr. Buck's previous business experience includes serving as President and Chief Operating Officer at Fingerhut Companies; Vice President of Administration at Alliant Techsystems; and Vice President of Administration at Honeywell, Inc. Mr. Buck previously served as Chairman of the Board of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and currently serves on the boards of ValueVision Media/Shop NBC and Patterson Companies, Inc..

Vice Chairperson of the Board

Esther Tomljanovich

Retired Associate Supreme Court Justice


Justice Esther Tomljanovich joined the Medica Foundation Board of Directors in 2002. Justice Tomljanovich has held leadership positions in numerous public, community and nonprofit organizations. She chairs the Governor's Sex Offender Policy Commission, serves on the Board of Trustees of the William Mitchell College of Law, has chaired the Governor's Judicial Selection Committee, served as President of the Washington County Law Library Board of Trustees, and was a founding member of Minnesota Women Lawyers.

Justice Tomljanovich has served on the Medica Board of Directors since 2001. She has been a Medica Consumer Director since June of 2002, and also chairs Medica’s Governance Committee and serves on the Community & Public Affairs and Medical Committees.

Justice Tomljanovich was a State of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice from 1990 to 1998, and a trial judge from 1977 to 1990. She also served as Revisor of Statutes for the State of Minnesota.

Before earning her law degree, Esther Tomljanovich spent seven years with Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 2000, the Minnesota State Bar Association honored Justice Tomljanovich with a career achievement award.


Board Member

Burton Cohen

Founding Publisher, MSP Communications


Burton Cohen joined the Medica Foundation Board in 2003. Mr. Cohen is active in numerous community activities. He is a trustee of the University of St. Thomas, a life trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and has served on several boards and advisory boards, including the University of Minnesota Foundation, the Minnesota Opera, the One Percent Club, the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, and Temple Israel.

Mr. Cohen retired from the Medica Board of Directors in December 2012 after nearly 10 years of service. A publisher and journalist, Burton Cohen founded MSP Communications in 1978 and is the former owner and publisher of Mpls./St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business Monthly, and several other publications. Earlier in his career, he served as president of Modern Medicine Publications, a group of international medical and dental journals. When Modern Medicine was sold, he continued to lead the publishing group, first for the New York Times, and later, for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Board Member

Samuel Leon

Physician, Minnesota Gastroenterology, P.A.


Dr. Samuel Leon has served on the Medica Foundation Board of Directors since 2013. He has also served on the Medica Board of Directors since 2001, and currently chairs the Community & Public Affairs Committee and is a member of the Finance and Medical Committees.

Dr. Leon is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He also is affiliated with the Minnesota Clinical Research Center in St. Paul. Dr. Leon has served as president of Minnesota Gastroenterology, chief of the Department of Medicine at Methodist Hospital and as medical director of the Endoscopy Department at Methodist Hospital. He also has served as Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and has authored several articles in medical journals.

Dr. Leon is a member of the board of directors of the Fairview Physicians Association and the Sub Committee of the Clinical Board of Governors for Park Nicollet Health Services.