The Program for Risk Evaluation and Prevention
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The Program for Risk Evaluation and Prevention

One of the most important goals of mental health care is prevention, including early intervention to eliminate the unfortunate consequences of our most serious mental illnesses. The Program for Risk Evaluation and Prevention (PREP) was formed in the spring of 2013 to work towards this goal.

The aims of PREP are to educate the community, provide clinical interventions, and conduct research with individuals who exhibit early signs of a possible psychosis, such as schizophrenia.  The most recent release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) identified the ‘attenuated psychosis syndrome’ (APS) as a condition of individuals exhibiting signs of possible psychosis, a diagnosis requiring additional study.  Schizophrenia, the most common form of psychosis, can devastate the lives of young people, and a growing body of research has demonstrated the salutary effects of intervening early, before the most serious signs of the illness develop.

To address this pressing need for more research, PREP was formed with the generous support of Dr. Gregory Dalack, chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and donations from the Drake Family Fund and the Boledovich Schizophrenia Research Fund. Support has also been obtained from the National Institutes of Mental Health to fund a brain imaging study in the risk syndrome.  Connecting with other centers across the country engaged in similar work, PREP is advancing our knowledge and working to improve the clinical treatment of a serious mental disorder.  Even more exciting is the potential – represented by PREP and demonstrated in numerous studies – that some of these serious conditions can be prevented. 

Program Aims

Community

  • To provide outreach and education about early psychosis and the need for early identification, raising awareness, reducing stigma, and promoting access to treatment.
  • To educate mental health trainees about the high-risk and early psychosis conditions, including identification, treatment, and research.

Clinical

  • To provide state-of-the-art assessments of at-risk youth and appropriate referrals for treatment.
  • To provide expertise and consultation for primary care providers, mental health workers, and community and school professionals in contact with young people.

Research

  • To engage high-risk individuals and those in the early phases of psychosis in clinical research assessments and longitudinal follow-up.
  • To identify biomarkers of the high-risk state (behavioral and neurobiological), predictive of functional and symptomatic outcome, which may be used to guide treatment interventions.

Support provided by:

Boledovich Schizophrenia Research Fund (Mind Over Matter)
Drake Family Fund
National Institute of Mental Health
University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry