To support innovative research and education initiatives that improve the health and well-being of Veterans.
The Minnesota Veterans Research Institute (MVRI) was incorporated in 1989, just one year after Congress passed legislation authorizing the creation of VA-affiliated non-profit corporations. The purpose of the legislation was to create a mechanism whereby non-VA federal grants and research contracts with medical device and pharmaceutical companies could be administered on behalf of VA-based research scientists.
The first study to be administered by the Foundation was the Department of Defense Veterans Brain Injury Program, led by Barbara Sigford, MD.
MVRI was originally led by Allen Levine, PhD, deputy ACOS/Research. JoAnn Tallman was its first employee. Penny Gannon, PhD then led it for 5-6 years in the early 1990's, followed by Mike Levitt, ACOS/Research.
The first full time Executive Director, Clay Tenquist, was hired in 2009. During his tenure MVRI became MVMREF—the Minnesota Veterans Medical Research and Education Foundation. This name never really caught on so in 2017 the name was changed again to CVRE—the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE).
CVRE currently administers grants from the DoD and other federal agencies, the medical device and pharmaceutical industries and foundations. Additionally, it supports a variety of research and educational programs, including on-site conferences, seed grants, and professional development opportunities for VA employees.
CVRE is incorporated in the State of Minnesota and operates exclusively for scientific and education purposes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. CVRE is governed by a Board of Directors per established bylaws.
Members of the Board of Directors (2022)
Kent Crossley MD, MHA
Dr. Crossley is Chief of Staff at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.
Hanna E. Bloomfield MD, MPH
Dr. Bloomfield is Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.
Steven Kooren, BS
Mr. Kooren is a US Army Veteran.
Patrick Kelly MPH, FACHE
Mr. Kelly, a US Navy veteran, is Director of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.
Ezgi Tiryaki MD
Dr. Tiryaki is Associate Chief of Staff for Education at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Associate Professor of Neurology and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota.
Jason Meszaros MBA
Mr. Meszaros, a US Army Veteran, is a senior manager for technology projects in the Minnesota Twins organization.
John D. Baker, JD
John D. Baker, JD, a decorated Veteran of the US Marine Corps, currently teaches criminal justice studies at Saint Cloud State University.
Mitchell W. Granberg, JD
Mr. Granberg, a decorated US Army veteran, is Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for Optum, a UnitedHealth Group Company.
Casey S. Gilmore, PhD
Casey S. Gilmore, PhD, is a Research Scientist in the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.
Jacob A. Finn, Ph.D.
Jacob A. Finn, Ph.D., is a staff psychologist and clinician investigator at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. He is the site Principal Investigator for the Minneapolis VA's portion of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems national database.
John M. Looft, Ph.D.
John M. Looft, PhD - Dr. Looft is the Director of the Minneapolis VA Motion Analysis Laboratory and a principal investigator in the Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering (MADE) program. His research focuses on adaptive rehabilitation and providing Veterans access to more sports related rehabilitation activities such as adaptive rowing, skiing, and golfing. Dr. Looft is also interest in designing novel ergonomic wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories to provide Veterans more functionality and independence. Lastly, Dr. Looft is most proud of his student mentorship program which provides undergraduate students the opportunity to learn more about VA research while gaining hands on experience.
Bradley A. Bart, MD
Brad Bart is a staff cardiologist at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System with interests and expertise in clinical trials and health services research. Trained at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, his clinical trials work focuses on new drugs, devices, and treatment strategies for the management of heart failure.
Nadine Rogers, MBA (Australia) joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in November 2019. She came to CVRE from her position as Senior Budget and Financial Analyst at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) where she received the 2018 NWHSU Award for Exceptional Contributions. Her extensive experience ranges from Internal Auditor for the Department of Chief Minister in Australia to Controller - Marketing and Sales for Sun Country Airlines in Mendota Heights, MN. Outside of work, Nadine enjoys travelling, camping, hiking and gardening.
Heather Nova joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in January 2021. She came to CVRE from her position as a Human Resources Generalist at YWCA Minneapolis and Human Resources Coordinator at the Center for Victims of Torture. She earned her masters' in Human Resources Management from St. Mary's University. Outside of work, Heather enjoys traveling, camping, sewing, and welding.
Chris joined CVRE in December of 2021, bringing 17 years' experience in the finance and accounting field. Previously he worked as an Accountant at UCare Minnesota. Before that he also worked at Minco Products and SuperValu in various accounting roles. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Wisconsin - River Falls. When Chris is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and daring to try new hot sauces.
Amalee joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in June 2021 and brings 8 years' experience in the finance and accounting field. Previously, she worked at Cerenity Senior Care, working in billing and accounts receivable. Before that, Amalee was with Midwest Home Health Care. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, and is known for being exceptional with computers. When she is not working, Amalee enjoys traveling, sports, and home improvements.
Pamela joined CVRE in February 2022 as the Grants Administration Manager. Prior to her CVRE service, Pamela worked at George State University gaining 10 years' worth of grants and contracts experience. Previous to that, she was the Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Consortium of Social Sciences Association and held other public policy positions. Pamela earned her bachelor's degree and her master's degree in Social Work. When she isn't working she enjoys antiquing and trying out new vegan recipes.