Dr. David Gullen, the longest-serving member of the Flinn Foundation board of directors, is stepping down as chair after 21 years of leading the philanthropic grantmaking organization. He will remain a board member through March 2024 before retiring.
Gullen, a physician who practiced internal medicine in the Phoenix area for nearly 35 years before retiring, joined the Flinn board in 1989 and was named chair in 2002.
Shortly after his selection as chair, the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation launched the ambitious Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap and dedicated 10 years of substantial funding and support to advance bioscience research and industry in Arizona. The Roadmap, later extended through 2025, has proven a remarkable success, with the growth of a robust bioscience ecosystem that includes bioscience jobs and companies, university research and spinouts, federal grants, and more.
The Flinn Scholars Program was a new initiative when Gullen first joined the board and continues today as the most prestigious college scholarship in Arizona. He also oversaw the foundation’s continued support of arts and culture and, in 2011, the introduction of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.
Gullen served as a direct link to Flinn board members who had personally known and worked with Dr. Robert Flinn, a cardiologist, and his wife, Irene, who created the foundation in 1965.
He speaks fondly of the generosity and vision of Robert and Irene Flinn and how the foundation, through its grants and programs, is honoring their intent to improve Arizona today and for future generations.
“The people of Arizona have benefited tremendously from the goodness of the Flinns, and I am honored to have had this opportunity to help sustain their legacy,” Gullen said. “Over nearly 60 years, the Flinn Foundation has placed Arizona first and will continue to do so with our new leadership.”
Dr. Eric Reiman, who joined the Flinn board in 1999 and has served as secretary since 2008, has been elected as its new chair. Reiman, a psychiatrist and brain-imaging researcher by background, is nationally recognized for his contributions to the study, unusually early detection, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
He is executive director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, chief executive officer of Banner Research, professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona, University Professor of neuroscience at Arizona State University, senior scientist at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium.
Reiman, who will mark 25 years on the board next year, said he is grateful for the opportunity.
“It is a privilege and honor to serve the Flinn Foundation in this new role and work with such wonderful people inside and outside this special organization,” Reiman said. “I will do my best to live up to the high standard set by Dr. Gullen, whose leadership, thoughtfulness, and collaborative spirit have been so important to our community.”
In other board transitions, Steve Wheeler, retired executive vice president of Arizona Public Service, is stepping down as the foundation’s vice chair. Wheeler, who joined the board in 1997 and has served as vice chair since 2007, will retire from the board next year.
Rose Papp, partner and research director of L. Roy Papp & Associates and a Flinn board member since 1998, will serve as the new vice chair and continue in her role as treasurer, a position she has held since 2005.
Heidi Jannenga will be the board’s new secretary. Jannenga, co-founder and chief clinical officer of Phoenix-based WebPT, joined the Flinn board in 2021.
Gullen worked in private practice with Phoenix Medical Associates and later with Mayo Clinic, from which he retired in 2013. He also served as an assistant professor in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and has been involved extensively in medical leadership roles, including as past chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. On the national level, he served as chairman of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians and secretary-treasurer of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Gullen earned his medical degree from the University of Arizona, his Master of Science degree in microbiology at Arizona State University, and his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He spent his internship, residency, chief residency, and fellowship at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York.
Reiman graduated from Duke University, studied at Oxford University, and returned to Duke for his medical degree and the first three years of his psychiatry residency. Before moving to Arizona, he completed his psychiatry residency and research fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was a faculty member and embarked on a research career in the lab that invented positron emission tomography (PET).
The 10-member Flinn Foundation board of directors allocates funding for the foundation’s grants and programs while setting its strategic direction through its expertise in medicine, finance, business, law, research, and entrepreneurship.