Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
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Ashok Malla, MD, FRCPC

Director, Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses
PEPP-Montréal), Douglas Institute
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Canada Research Chair in Early Psychosis

Areas of expertise
Schizophrenia, early intervention, first episode psychosis, outcome, integrated treatment

Ashok Malla focuses his studies on the early phases of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, and on prevention and early intervention of these severe illnesses. He is an international leader in the development of comprehensive programs for, and research in, early intervention in psychosis.

While, traditionally, the outcome in schizophrenia and related disorders has generally been regarded as poor, there is burgeoning evidence, including work done by Ashok Malla, that delay in initial treatment of psychosis may be a major contributor to the poor outcome. These findings open a great opportunity for early intervention as a means to improving outcome, while at the same time providing an occasion to investigate the complexity of this relationship. This is particularly relevant from a societal perspective, as the onset of the illness occurs mostly in young people, between the ages of 14-30.

Ashok Malla’s research program involves studies in early stages of psychosis, including:

  • Investigation of delay in treatment
  • Finding the sources of delay so that interventions directed at improving early case identification can be targeted
  • Studying the impact of assertive early case identification on outcome

This work has identified (a) relatively long delays in treatment even after the patient’s first contact with mental health services and (b) that assertive case identification strategies can both reduce delays in treatment as well as bring into treatment individuals who were otherwise not being treated.

Ashok Malla's research program also examines predictors of outcome on multiple dimensions, including:

  • Clinical state and quality of life
  • Evaluation of strategies to improve outcome (for example relapse prevention)
  • Cognition and psychopathology in early psychosis
  • Controlled evaluation of integrated treatment methods.

Results thus far indicate that at least 50% of outcome is potentially amenable to impact of better and early treatment and that mental functions such as working memory, adherence to treatment, and partial response to treatment are major predictors of outcome in addition to delay in treatment.

This research program aims at extending this work in order to improve knowledge about early signs of psychosis for professionals in the health and educational system. For the public, this research aims at reducing delays in treatment. In addition, this program will start examining the period immediately before the onset of psychosis in individuals at high risk, with a view to developing treatment for this phase of the illness, so that psychosis can be prevented.

Contact information
Douglas Institute
Frank B. Common Pavilion
Room F 2127.1
6875, boulevard LaSalle
Montreal (Quebec)
H4H 1R3
Phone :
514 761-6131
ext.: 4121

Fax :
(514) 888-4458
Research division :
  • - Clinique
Research groups :
Awards and distinctions :
  • - Exemplary Psychiatrist Award
[ view more awards ]
Find out more :
Complicated but rare : schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. A 2007 lecture by Ridha Joober (Q&A in French)
Complicated but rare : schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. A 2007 lecture by Ridha Joober (in French)