BOSTON (June 27, 2014) – It can take up to 17 years from the appearance of symptoms for an individual with obsessive compulsive disorder to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. While this statistic is improving as awareness about the disorder grows, there is still much work to be done to make sure that the two to three million adults and half a million kids in the U.S. with the disorder have access to effective, appropriate treatment.
As part of its mission to improve the lives of those affected by OCD and related disorders, each year, the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) recognizes 3 individuals who are working hard on the ground to make a difference.
The Foundation is proud to honor Dr. Steve Rasmussen with the 2014 IOCDF Career Achievement Award, Wendy Mueller with the 2014 IOCDF Patricia Perkins Service Award, and Margaret Sisson with the 2014 IOCDF Hero Award for their achievements and service to the IOCDF and the OCD community. The IOCDF will present the awards to them at the 21st Annual OCD Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles on July 19.
“We are so proud of Dr. Rasmussen, Wendy and Margaret for the work they have done to affect change in OCD awareness and treatment,” said Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the International OCD Foundation. “They have left an indelible mark on the OCD community and the foundation, and it is our privilege to honor them with the Career Achievement, Service and Hero awards.”
Dr. Steve Rasmussen is a highly respected and acclaimed expert in OCD treatment. In the 1980s, he established one of the first OCD clinics is in the United States. He later helped develop the Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the gold standard for rating OCD symptoms that has been used for the last 25 years. Dr. Rasmussen has authored and co-authored over a 100 publications on OCD, and he is the Principal Investigator of an OCD longitudinal course of illness study. He currently chairs and serves as a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Known for her activism, Wendy Mueller has been an advocate and member of the IOCDF for over 25 years. After she was diagnosed with OCD, she started an online support group for OCD that grew to have 50 members. Mueller was later chosen to lead what is today called the OCD-Support List, an online support group hosted by Yahoo Groups with over 4,700 participants worldwide. She has spent countless hours helping people find OCD therapists, support groups and OCD literature. As Mueller has learned to conquer her OCD, she has devoted her life to helping others do the same.
Margaret Sisson is a mother from Georgia who was inspired by her son’s struggle with OCD to become an advocate for other families affected by OCD. She has been an enthusiastic and vocal supporter for the IOCDF, having served on the Conference Task Force for the IOCDF’s 2013 Annual OCD Conference in Atlanta, and having organized a “Wine Raffle” in her community to raise money for the IOCDF, while also raising awareness about OCD. She has also worked to expand treatment options for families in Georgia by advocating for more therapists and clinics to specialize in OCD treatment. Sisson’s grassroots advocacy is a testament to how even modest, local efforts to have the power to affect real change.
About the International OCD Foundation
The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization, working to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them. Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in 25 states and territories, as well as 9 Global Partners. The IOCDF was founded as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation in 1986. Now in its 27th year, the organization has an over $1.5 million annual operating budget, has granted millions of dollars for OCD research, and is a vital resource for the estimated 1 in 100 individuals with OCD around the world. For more information, visit https://iocdf.org.
Director of Communications
International OCD Foundation
cbourne @ iocdf.org