2021 President’s Award

Graham Boeckh Foundation Awarded the 2021 SIRS President's Award

The Schizophrenia International Research Society has awarded the Graham Boeckh Foundation the 2021 President's Award. In 1990, J. Anthony Boeckh and his family established the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF) in honour of his son, Graham, who passed away due to schizophrenia-related complications. The Foundation aims to transform the mental healthcare system in Canada and the world.

Ian Boeckh

Ian is President of the Graham Boeckh Foundation, a private family foundation that is based in Montreal and is focused on mental health. Over the past several years, Ian has overseen the development of the foundation’s two major areas of focus: youth mental health service transformation across Canada and promotion of knowledge transfer and collaboration in the global mental health sector. Ian is an economist by training and, prior to joining the foundation, worked in the area of financial market research and publishing.



Danielle Kemmer

Danielle Kemmer s Vice-President, Strategy and Initiatives, at the Graham Boeckh Foundation and Executive Director of the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders. Her interest is in driving progress in the mental health sector through global collective purpose and evidence-informed initiatives. Danielle joined GBF in 2015, bringing her background in research and research management to the Foundation. Born and raised in Germany, she holds a Masters in biochemistry from Paris VII in France and a PhD in functional genomics from the Karolinska Institute.
After pursuing postdoctoral studies at McGill University, Danielle joined Génome Québec, where she managed several large-scale genomics projects. In particular, she was the driving force within the organization to better understand the societal context and implications for genomics research. By leading the IAMHRF, Danielle promotes collaboration and unity within the mental health sector. She has been instrumental in contributing to efforts of strengthening ties between the research community and key mental health stakeholders globally. Danielle is a socially conscious vegetarian who lives with her husband and two daughters in the Mile End in Montreal.

Elana Ludman

Elana Ludman is the Vice President, Youth Mental Health. In her role, she works with a variety of stakeholders, including policy makers, mental health experts, philanthropic foundations, service providers, and youth and their families to support Integrated Youth Services across Canada. Elana holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and a Masters in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics.

In her spare time, Elana sits on the Board of Directors of Apathy is Boring, a national organization looking to engage young people in democracy through art and technology, and the Museum of Jewish Montreal, a local organization re-defining the definition of museums as it looks to engage people across cultures and generations.


A Message from Dame Til Wykes, SIRS President

I am pleased to be making my first President’s award to the Graham Boeckh Foundation which is based in Montreal, Canada but provides both funding and strategic leadership across the globe. The foundation was created by J. Anthony Boeckh and his family in 1990 with the goal of transforming the mental health system – one they have assiduously followed over the last thirty years. Their funded projects place patients and families at the centre of care, a theme I personally have championed and one that SIRS is working towards.

They support many initiatives that drive collaboration and knowledge exchange between and among funders, researchers, policymakers, and community service providers. The latest venture was to corral more than 30 funders from across the world into the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders. Their project on mental health research funding across the world – where it goes and to what - resulted in a paper in Lancet Psychiatry in January 2021. I don’t want to dissuade you from reading the paper, but spoiler alert - it was too little, in the wrong places, and skewed in what it supported. For a resume, you can read my Mental Elf blog or the commentary paper by Vikram Patel also in Lancet Psychiatry. We have always used arguments to our national funders on the importance of mental health for the economy, health services, and disability, but this paper gives us the data to make the most compelling arguments to national funders consider for not just more, but different types of research. This study also revealed the international disparities in research spending. It also showed us that the distribution of funding is not fair and identified the need to build research infrastructure in low and middle-income countries. SIRS has also identified this need and something we are supporting in our diversity strategies and global awards.

The Graham Boeckh Foundation over the last thirty-one years has shown a commitment to research and treatment, especially in the field of schizophrenia. It is a worthy recipient of the SIRS President’s Award and I am very pleased to be able to bestow it. It is also an organisation that we need to keep an eye on in the future.

A Message from the Graham Boeckh Foundation

The Graham Boeckh Foundation wishes to express deep gratitude to the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) and the Society’s President, Dame Til Wykes, for the President’s Award. Our foundation is named in honor of Graham Boeckh who had schizophrenia and died as a result of complications from medication. We believe wholeheartedly in the work and mission of SIRS and commend the Society’s members for their efforts to provide relief and hope for people who have schizophrenia.

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