To support innovative research and education initiatives that improve the health and well-being of Veterans.

Our History


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 (2018)

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, a US Army veteran, is Treasurer and SVP of Financial Planning and Analysis at Schwan's Company.

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.

Ken Kunisaki MD

Dr. Kunisaki is Medical Director of the COPD Case Management Program and a Staff Physician at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, and Associate Professor of Medicine 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.

Chris Erbes MD

Dr. Erbes is a Clinical Psychology Supervisor at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

John Ferguson PhD

Dr. Ferguson is a health science specialist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Assistant Professor in the Division of Rehabilitation Science in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Philipp Dahm MD, MHSC

Dr. Dahm is a urologist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota.

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.

Professional Staff

Pat Widboom
Interim Executive Director

Pat holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southwest State University in Marshall, MN and is a Certified Public Accountant (Active Status). Pat began her career in public accounting and has 20 years experience in CFO/lead Finance roles in various healthcare related nonprofits in MN and WI. She gained experience in financial management and reporting of Federal, State and Private grants at Planned Parenthood as well as two Federally Qualified Health Clinics in Minneapolis. In her free time Pat enjoys hiking, knitting, amateur flower gardening, and traveling.

Jerry Doyle
Grants and Contracts Manager

Jerry Doyle earned his B.A. degree in political science and B.S. degree in public administration from James Madison University (2003), and a master of public policy degree from the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota (2009). Jerry is excited to leverage his more than eight years of research program management and coordination experience in the federal government, higher education and non-profit sector to secure funding and identify new grant and contract opportunities for Minneapolis VA Principal Investigators. When not at work, Jerry enjoys spending time with his family, running, and cooking.

Cody Arnold
Office Manager and Staff Accountant

Cody joined CVRE in 2017 as the Office Manager where he actively supports the business accounts of all major projects and enthusiastically works with principal investigators and study coordinators. Prior to joining CVRE, Cody worked in customer service for a large healthcare organization. A native of Minnesota, Cody earned his A.S. degree in Accounting from North Hennepin Community College. He is currently working on earning his B.A. degree in Accounting, Finance and Economics from Metropolitan State University (MN). He is married and has 2 children.

Jared Carpenter
Staff Accountant

Jared joined CVRE as a Staff Accountant in May 2018. A native of Minnesota, he grew up in Breezy Point where he spent a majority of his time hunting, fishing, and working for the local resort. Jared attended the University of Nevada at Reno where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business, with an emphasis in Mandarin Chinese and in Finance. Jared has previously worked in the mortgage industry and in market research. He recently moved back to Minnesota to pursue a Master of Accountancy degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. When he is not working, Jared likes spending his free time exploring the city and attending different sporting events.

Liz Khoem
Student Business Intern

Liz joined CVRE in June 2018 as a college student business intern. Prior to her internship with CVRE, she was a team lead for an area restaurant. Liz was born and raised in Cambodia and moved to the United States about two years ago. Back in Cambodia, she worked as the Sales and Marketing Manager for Studio M. Liz is currently working on her A.S. degree in Accounting at Normandale Community College and will be graduating in the Fall 2018. While at CVRE, Liz is working in several key areas including Grants, Human Resources, and Social Marketing. In her leisure time, she enjoys biking, cooking and gardening.