GBF Newsletter Volume 4.5
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Dear Subscribers,
This issue of our Newsletter highlights some important recent activities of the Graham Boeckh Foundation, particularly with regard to our international efforts.  Also included this month are two important announcements:  the appointment of Elana Ludman as the Foundation’s Program Director – Youth Mental Health and the call for Sam Lal Award applications (deadline January 27, 2017). 
In this issue:
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Annual Meeting of the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders in Rome, Italy
Alliance Logo
GBF Supports an International Youth Mental Health Research Network
Graham Boeckh Foundation logo
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF)
Graham Boeckh Foundation logo
New member of the GBF Team
Graham Boeckh Foundation logo
January 27th, 2017 Deadline for Applications: 2017 Dr. Samarthji Lal Award
Annual Meeting of the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders in Rome, Italy
Pictured from left to right:
Prof. Ernesto Caffo, Dr. Renaldo Battista, Prof. Walter Ricciardi,
Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin, Ian Boeckh, Raymonde Boeckh,
Dr. Roberto Mezzina, Tony Boeckh
The international funders held their 2016 Annual Meeting on October 24th and 25th at the National Institute of Health (ISS) in Rome, Italy. The event was hosted by Prof. Walter Ricciardi, President. Among the guest speakers were the editor-in-chief of Nature, Sir Philip Campbell, the Italian Minister of Health, Ms. Beatrice Lorenzin, and the former National Clinical Director for Mental Health at the NHS England, Dr. Geraldine Strathdee.

With the objective of increasing the effectiveness of mental health research funding, the group debated the key steps leading from research to patient-centred clinical practice. Dr. Jonathan Grant, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s College, for example, discussed the returns from research, particularly considering the time lag and slow adoption of proven interventions. Another point of view was added by Dr. Todd Sherer, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, who illustrated how not-for-profit organizations can help to organize a specific research sector and promote collaboration and innovation.     

The Alliance is a collaborative of the largest and most innovative mental health research funders from around the world It provides a strategic forum to its 22 members to shape the global mental health research funding agenda and strives to increase the societal impact from research investments. The Graham Boeckh Foundation provides leadership and administrative support to the group.
GBF Supports an International Youth Mental Health Research Network

An urgent health, social and economic challenge is responding to the risks and impacts of mental and substance use disorders for young people. The result has been to stimulate innovative system reforms internationally to provide better care for the unique mental health needs of young people. Similar innovative approaches are necessary in youth mental health research if we are to continue to improve services and treatments. As a consequence, innovation and research in youth mental health (YMH) is becoming a priority focus in a number of countries worldwide. A coordinated research agenda could more rapidly advance our understanding of the aetiology and development of mental illnesses and support interventions and service models that ultimately transform the lives of young people and their families, enhance communities and strengthen economies.

Key researchers from Canada, the Unites States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands have joined forces to form an International Youth Mental Health Research Network (IYMHRN). It is being supported by the Graham Boeckh Foundation and is currently managed by Orygen Australia.

The group will generate a roadmap for research that addresses current challenges, responds to neglected areas and maximizes the potential for major impact and growth in this area. The inaugural meeting of the IYMHRN was held in early September in London, UK, where 14 experts from five countries, including GBF, came to a consensus of the priority areas in global YMH research.  Particular focus is on integration across research and clinical systems, integration across research disciplines, optimization of evidence-based solutions and development of health services research.   

In parallel, GBF supports the development of a Network of Centres of Excellence for an International Knowledge Translation Platform (NCE-IKTP) in YMH. The initiative responds to a call from the Canadian government and offers a unique opportunity for GBF to consolidate many of its efforts to advance the implementation of integrated youth services. It aims to support international and pan-Canadian collaboration to accelerate knowledge translation in areas of mutual strategic interest and positions Canadian YMH researchers to play a leading role in the IYMHRN.
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF)

In late October, Tony and Ray spent two days with BBRF, which included the annual Awards/Gala fundraiser, a Board meeting and an all-day Scientific Symposium on leading-edge mental health research.  The morning session of the Symposium focused on several very interesting presentations on schizophrenia by UCLA investigators and award winners. 

Drs. Michael Green, Amanda McCleery, Stephen Marder and William Horan presented on issues and recent developments regarding social cognition, neuroplasticity and its role in the treatment of cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, new treatment approaches, including the use of a pharmacological approach to facilitate a psycho-social treatment, as well as a presentation on the efficacy of a “Social Cognitive Skills Training” (SCST) program. Together they provided stimulating insight into the role of social cognition in patients with schizophrenia and how the systems that comprise the human social brain help people to navigate their social worlds.

GBF always takes a table at the Awards Gala dinner to help with fundraising and this year we had invited guests Harold Pincus (and wife), Vice Chair of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Advisor to the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders; Nina Schooler (and husband), Professor and Division Chief of the Schizophrenia Research Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center; and Sherry Glied (and husband), Dean at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and former Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health, Obama Administration.

BBRF is the largest private funder of mental health research in the world, awarding more than US$360 million since 1987 to fund more than 5,000 NARSAD grants worldwide.
New member of the GBF Team


We are pleased to announce that Elana Ludman has joined our team as Program Director, Youth Mental Health. Elana comes to GBF from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation where she was the Social Innovation Advisor and the Interim National Lead, WellAhead. In these roles, she worked closely with the President to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships and advance organizational priorities in child and youth mental health, early childhood development and Indigenous reconciliation.

Prior to McConnell, Elana worked at the Canadian Government as a Program Advisor in the Ministry of Employment and Social Development. She has also worked in the community sector, with Habitat for Humanity Argentina as a Field Coordinator, and with Santropol Roulant, a youth-run non-profit organization in Montreal, where she served as the Director of Development and Communications for five years. Elana holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and a Masters in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics.

Elana is looking forward to meeting the Foundation’s partners and stakeholders, and to working together to create a sustainable transformation in Canada’s youth mental health system.
January 27th, 2017 Deadline for Applications: 2017 Dr. Samarthji Lal Award

In honour of Dr. Lal, GBF awards $25,000 annually to a researcher who is making an outstanding contribution in the area of psychiatry, with a focus on major mental disorders.

Dr. Lal was a co-founder of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre with Dr. N.P.V. Nair in 1979, and set up Canada’s first brain bank at the Douglas Hospital Research Institute in 1980.  Dr. Lal played a pivotal role in setting up the McGill Centre for Research on Schizophrenia, and in the establishment of the Graham Boeckh Chair in Schizophrenia at the Douglas Institute of McGill University.

The deadline to submit applications for the 2017 Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research is January 27th, 2017.
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