Graham Boeckh Foundation Awarded the 2021 SIRS President’s Award
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.