June 22, 2021
Akwatu Khenti is an affiliate scientist in CAMH’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and an Assistant Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He has a specialist degree in economics and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in health policy and equity at York University. He is involved in a wide variety of international initiatives on mental illness including stigma reduction in primary care. He previously led CAMH’s development of a specialized drug treatment and prevention program for Black youth in Toronto, called the Substance Abuse Program for African and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY).
Dr. Khenti has co-led many global health research efforts including one to improve mental health conditions in Gujarat, India, using human rights-based approaches, and a CIHR-funded randomized clinical trial to test an anti-stigma intervention in primary healthcare in Ontario. He has also co-led drug research capacity-building with the Inter-American Drug Control Commission (CICAD, OAS) involving 30 universities across Latin America and the Caribbean. He collaborated in a Peruvian cluster randomized clinical trial on a stigma intervention in primary care, as well as on a pilot study of a telephone application for psychosis linking traditional healers with the psychiatric system in Tanzania. He was a principal investigator for the development of easy-to-follow, culturally adapted cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions for working with individuals of Latin American origin and individuals of African Caribbean origin (both English-speaking and French-speaking). He tested this CBT intervention with spiritual leaders in Haiti to see whether it can strengthen the system of informal care.
Dr. Khenti is the Chair of Toronto’s Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity and a Special Advisor to the City of Toronto’s Covid Equity Initiative.