Savita Malhotra, Recipient of The 2022 Yves Pelicier Prize of the WASP

By: Nitin Gupta, MD, Former Professor, Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh-160030 & Senior Consultant, Neuropsychiatrist 
& Therapist, Gupta Mind Healing and Counselling Centre, Chandigarh-160009 INDIA. 

Dr Malhotra is a very accomplished and distinguished leader in the field of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent psychiatry and Social Psychiatry, and has recently been awarded The Yves Pelicier Prize 2022 instituted by the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP). This is the highest award in Social Psychiatry and one of the most coveted awards in Psychiatry.  The Prize is in recognition of her stellar career in Social Psychiatry reflecting outstanding contributions to the understanding of the important interaction of social, psychological and biological sciences.  As the  successful nominee she will be invited to deliver a ceremonial lecture at the World Congress of Social Psychiatry, 16-18 January 2023, London, UK.  

She completed her basic medical training at IGMC, Shimla followed by her Higher Specialist Training (MD and PhD) from PGIMER Chandigarh. Thereafter, she trained in Child Psychiatry at different places across the world viz. Institute of Child Health London, Guy’s Hospital London; Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh USA.   

Thereafter, she served as a faculty member in the Departments of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), a premier tertiary care academic institute in India. She rose to become Dean and Professor and Head of Departments of Psychiatry, De-addiction and Treatment Center. She headed the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh for over 35 years.   

She has been recognized at national and international platforms as she is the Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists, and Honorary Fellow of World Association for Social Psychiatry.  

Her most notable contributions have been in the field of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She has been a pioneer in establishing the discipline of child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP) in India through resource mobilization and advocacy at the national level. She organized CAP as an academic discipline, brought it to the forefront of the national agenda, mentored students, spearheaded research, published books, engaged in advocacy and initiated a three- year super specialty training course in CAP in India for developing natively trained child and adolescent psychiatrists. In recognition of her leadership in development of child psychiatry in India and globally, in 2015 she was honored by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) at San Antonio for a presidential interview. She was also honored with International Contribution Award from the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions in 2016, for global leadership, advocacy and scholarly research on behalf of children and adolescents in Asia. Most recently during the Covid pandemic in 2021, she has pioneered and started the IACAM Academy (in her capacity as its Director) under the aegis of the Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (IACAM) providing a one-year online certificate course in CAP for general psychiatrists in India, with the aim of capacity building and training at the national level in area of child and adolescent mental health in order to address the huge short fall in workforce, services, and treatment gap.  

She has been very active with organizational activities and professional societies nationally and globally. She has served as a President, Asian Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions; President, Indian Association for Social Psychiatry; and Assistant Secretary General of International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions. She has been a Member, Education Committee of World Psychiatric Association; and Board Member Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Section of World Psychiatric Association.  

Dr Savita Malhotra is the Life President of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (IACAM)- the National Organization in India for mental health professionals who have shown greater commitment to the mental health problems of children and adolescents over long years. IACAM is affiliated with IACAPAP for nearly 30 years now.  

She has served on many national committees and bodies involved in planning and policy making in the country, as well as international organizations like WHO, IACAPAP, WPA. 

Dr Malhotra has many scholarly publications and research articles published in national and international journals. She has edited or authored many books in child psychiatry relevant globally, contributed a large number of book chapters and manuals.  She carried out several WHO funded research projects (such as long- term course and outcome of schizophrenia, epidemiology of psychiatric disorders in adults and children in India, a clinical study of acute and transient psychotic disorders) which have been recognized globally. She pioneered and established programs for telemedicine and tele psychiatry at the PGIMER. Her most recent research involved development and implementation of a knowledge based expert system for diagnosis and management of psychiatric disorders using model tele psychiatry application to deliver mental health care in remote rural communities by trained non- specialists.  The project was awarded the highest order of merit and excellence as an e-governance project in India in a 2014 competition.  

Additionally, she has been a much sought-after speaker in national and international meetings. Much of her research/clinical work has been acknowledged as original and excellent earning her over three dozen academic awards, accolades, and honors from professional societies. She continues to be a regular speaker at national and international conferences in psychiatry and a recognized mentor, teacher and resource person, in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.   

Her personal attributes include high quality critical thinking, unrivalled interpersonal warmth, strong ethical values, commitment to justice and human rights, with a collaborative and inclusive orientation. She is a clinician, researcher, scientist, and leader par excellence: A person after interacting with whom one comes away always enriched! It is indeed a privilege for me to have been her student earlier, and thereafter have continued to be associated with her as a junior colleague! 

IACAPAP Bulletin, Issue 67