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Anti-Racism Directorate announces new Assistant Deputy Minister

The Anti-Racism Directorate is pleased to announce that as a result of an open competitive process led by Sam Erry, Associate Deputy Minister, Inclusion, Diversity, and Anti-Racism Division, Akwatu Khenti is the successful candidate for the position of Assistant Deputy Minister, Anti-Racism Directorate. Akwatu is a seasoned executive leader with deep experience in the implementation of complex multi-sector initiatives with varied stakeholders and partners.


Akwatu is currently the Director of Transformative Global Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an Assistant Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Akwatu brings wide-ranging racial equity experience having established CAMH’s Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth and has led international programs to address health gaps for marginalised communities. He also co-chaired CAMH’s Diversity Initiative that focused on ensuring respect and equity for diverse groups within institutional policies, procedures, and practices.


Akwatu’s legacy of transformative and collaborative initiatives include: leading the cultural adaptation of cognitive-behavioral therapy for spiritual leaders in Haiti; a post-Tsunami 3-year mental health capacity building initiative in Sri Lanka; as well as a recent effort to strengthen mental health care in India. Akwatu has also been co-leading a hemispheric research capacity building collaboration with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States and 30 universities across Latin America and the Caribbean. His research focuses on effective primary care interventions for reducing stigmatizing attitudes and practices among health professional staff as well as Black homicide victimization in Toronto.


Akwatu holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of Toronto and is a Ph.D. candidate in health policy and equity at York University.  He is a recipient of the Harry Jerome Award for Professional Excellence and the ‘Ethno-Racial Education Initiatives Award’ from the Department of Public Health Science, University of Toronto.


We look forward to Akwatu’s anti-racism expertise and leadership as he joins us effective June 26th.




Anti-Racism Directorate