October 20, 2023

By International OCD Foundation

As NAMI and the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) come together to celebrate the accomplishments of Sabine Wilhelm, PhD, the winner of NAMI’s 2023 Scientific Research Award, we are reminded of the intricate nature of OCD and the critical importance of research in unraveling its complexities.

By selecting Dr. Sabine Wilhelm as the honoree, NAMI underscores the vital role that OCD research plays in the broader mental health landscape. This critical research is how we can improve the lives of the approximately 60 million Americans who grapple with various mental health conditions, including the 2 to 3 million adults and 500,000 kids who currently have OCD.

For both organizations, research stands as a cornerstone principle, driving efforts to foster understanding, provide support and advance treatments for those affected by mental health conditions. As NAMI and the IOCDF celebrate Dr. Sabine Wilhelm's achievements, it is important to emphasize the pivotal role that research occupies in shaping the trajectory of mental health treatment.

Recognizing Dr. Wilhelm’s Contributions

Dr. Sabine Wilhelm, a luminary in her field, has dedicated her career to unraveling the complexities of OCD and related disorders, especially body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and tic disorders. Dr. Wilhelm is the Chief of Psychology and Director of the Center for OCD and Related Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, and she serves as the Vice Chair of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board at the IOCDF.

Her innovative research has illuminated previously uncharted dimensions of these conditions, offering fresh perspectives and potential pathways for treatment. This includes:

Currently, Dr. Wilhelm is working on smartphone-based treatments for OCD, depression and BDD. As Mass General Hospital describes, Wilhelm’s goal is to “use technology-based interventions to enhance global access to high-quality mental health interventions.”

In the past, IOCDF-funded research has unearthed ground-breaking findings on effective treatment, unraveling causes and environmental factors. Dr. Wilhelm’s work on the OCSRS and an evaluation of CBT for OCD across multiple treatment centers were supported by IOCDF grants. By empowering researchers, providing resources and cultivating an environment conducive to innovative exploration, the IOCDF endeavors to continue to catalyze life-saving breakthroughs within the field.

Celebrating A Collective Effort

The Peter Corbin Kohn Endowment supports the NAMI Scientific Research Award and serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of those who recognize the urgency of advancing mental health research. This endowment underscores the idea that the advancement of scientific understanding is a collective endeavor — one that involves the contributions of dedicated individuals, organizations and the broader community. The recognition of Dr. Wilhelm's work through this award exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and determination required to make meaningful strides in mental health research.

As we celebrate this honor, we are reminded that the pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit of improved mental health outcomes are deeply intertwined. Through collaboration, dedication and innovative exploration, we can continue to pave the way toward a brighter future for all those affected by mental health conditions.


The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) is a donor-supported nonprofit organization. Founded in 1986 by a small group of individuals with OCD, the Foundation has grown into an international organization serving a broad community of individuals with OCD and related disorders, their family members and loved ones, and mental health professionals and researchers around the world.

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