Dr. Kwame McKenzie is CEO of the Wellesley Institute, a full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and an international expert on the social causes of illness and the development of effective, equitable social policy and health systems. He is also Director of Health Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH); and a practicing psychiatrist.
As a policy advisor, clinician, educator and academic with over 240 peer reviewed papers and six books, McKenzie has worked across a broad spectrum to improve population health and health services for three decades.
His work with colleagues at Wellesley Institute has influenced local and national social policy and his academic research and collaborations have changed teaching, clinical practice and policy in psychiatry.
McKenzie is co-chair of the Federal Government’s Expert Task Force on Substance Use, a member of the National Advisory Council on Poverty and serves on the boards of the United Way and the Ontario Hospital Association.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, McKenzie convened a broad coalition of academics, clinicians and communities to draw attention to the inequitable impacts of the pandemic and the need for collection and use of socio-demographic data. This work has been credited with changing pandemic strategies in Canada and has attracted international attention.
McKenzie has worked as an adviser to health ministers in the UK and Canada, and to housing, education and social services ministers in Canada. In 2020 he was a member of Canada’s delegation to the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
Provincially, he recently completed positions as a Commissioner of Human Rights, an advisor to Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Project and as a member of the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council to the Minister of Health of Ontario. He is a previous Member of the Executive and Council of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.
In addition to his academic, policy and clinical work, Dr. McKenzie is a past BBC Radio presenter and columnist for the Guardian, Times-online and most recently the Toronto Star.
Dr. McKenzie holds an African Canadian Achievement Award for Science, a Harry Jerome Trailblazer Award, and the Dominican of Distinction Award.