The federal government appointed two CAMH specialists to its ten-person National Advisory Council on Poverty.

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TORONTO, August 23, 2019 – The federal government has appointed two CAMH specialists to its ten-person National Advisory Council on Poverty .

Dr. Alex Abramovich, Independent Scientist, and Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Director of Health Equity at CAMH and CEO of the Wellesley Institute, are among the individuals who will advise the government on this first-ever national poverty reduction strategy

The Council includes persons with lived experience, leaders, experts, academics, and practitioners that work in the field of poverty reduction. Together, they will provide independent advice to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on poverty reduction as well as report annually on progress toward reducing poverty by 20% by 2020, and 50% by 2030.

Collectively, Dr. Abramovich and Dr. McKenzie bring extensive insight and experience through their respective areas of research and advocacy.

Dr. Abramovich has been advocating to end homelessness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth for the past ten years.

“It’s truly an honour to be selected from over 800 applicants across the country,” says Dr. Abramovich. “LGBTQ2S youth are disproportionately represented among Canadians living in poverty and experiencing homelessness, and I take seriously my duty to ensure that their unique challenges and barriers are prioritized.”

Dr. McKenzie brings decades of clinical, educational and policy expertise in health equity to this role.

“I am excited by opportunity to work with such a formidable team to help with Canada’s poverty reduction strategy and to help ensure greater health equity among all Canadians, including those with mental illness,” says Dr. McKenzie.

The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is an estimated $51 billion per year including health care costs, lost productivity and reductions in health-related quality of life.


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please follow @CAMHnews  on Twitter.