Iris Torchalla, PhD, CHÉOS Scientist


Research and Interests

Dr. Torchalla’s research interests include: substance use disorders, tobacco dependence, concurrent physical & mental disorders, and psychosocial interventions.


Dr. Torchalla graduated as a clinical psychologist from the University of Tübingen in Germany.  In her master’s thesis, she explored mental health, substance use behavior and the psychosocial situation of homeless women.

Until 2008, she worked as a clinical scientist at the University Hospital for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Tübingen, where she was involved in the design and implementation of smoking cessation intervention trials.  She also provided treatment for dependent smokers and taught training seminars for health professionals.  In her dissertation, she explored smoker subgroups who were at differential risk for post-intervention relapse.

In a subsequent project, she was involved in the development and evaluation of a smoking cessation manual tailored to meet the needs of these at-risk groups.  Concurrently, she completed a five year cognitive-behavioural therapy training program as well as additional workshops on motivational interviewing and dialectical behaviour therapy.  In the latter context, she provided psychotherapy for individuals with various psychiatric disorders in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

After moving to Vancouver in 2008, Dr. Torchalla worked at the British Columbia Centre of Excellence in Women’s Health, holding two postdoctoral research fellowships.  The first was with the IMPART program, where she studied the intersections of trauma experiences, substance use, mental health and gender.  The latter was with the iTAG program where she investigated sex and gender related factors that affect smoking motivation, tobacco dependence and cessation.

At the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, Dr. Torchalla currently explores substance abuse, mental health and trauma among vulnerable urban populations, including homeless people and individuals with concurrent disorders.  Her research program aims at developing and improving interventions for individuals with concurrent disorders.

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Selected Publications

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