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Staff and Board



The team at Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) works hard to make a positive impact on families, caregivers, and members. The staff here have experience working inside and outside the provincial government on both the bureaucratic and political sides. Children’s Mental Health Ontario is governed by a Board of Directors composed of volunteers. These Directors are eligible to serve on the Board for a maximum of 2 terms that are 3-years in length. There are currently 13 Directors on the CMHO Board.


AllStaffBoard of Directors
Board member

Alfred Ng

Alfred Ng has almost 20 years of progressive experience leading innovation, client experience and clinical operations across diverse health and community service settings. He is currently Executive Lead, Quality, Risk and Performance Improvement at Grandview Children’s Centre, one of the largest provincial providers of pediatric and rehabilitation services for children and youth with physical, communication and developmental needs.

Alfred’s passionate advocacy for children’s mental health, especially the need for equity in service access is grounded in personal experience as a caregiver and illustrated through his commitment to the mission of CMHO and extensive involvement as a Board member in community provider agencies. Alfred has a Bachelor of Science, Physical Therapy from McGill University, Master of Health Administration from the University of Toronto and is a Certified Health Leader.

Board member

Bashar Alrehany

Bashar Alrehany has over 25 years’ experience as a CEO and board member in the financial services, technology, and health care sectors.

Currently, Mr. Alrehany is a Non-Executive Director of MCI Onehealth Technologies, which owns and operates one of Canada’s leading primary care networks demonstrating how insights from data can be translated into effective treatments. He also serves as a Board Member of Infrastructure Ontario a provincial crown agency – creating a connected, modern, and competitive Ontario. Additionally, he is a member of the Advisory Board of Veritas Investment Research, an independent equity investment research and asset management firm.

Mr. Alrehany earlier led the Investment Research Division of Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, which comprises two globally leading investment research brands: BCA Research and Ned Davis Group. He became CEO of BCA in 2003 and Executive Chairman of NDR in 2017, positions that he held until 2021. He served as a member of the Euromoney board of directors from 2009 to 2016.

Before joining BCA, Mr. Alrehany spent six years as CEO of Dow Jones Markets Canada and Bridge Information Systems Canada, and 13 years at Reuters plc in various management roles in Canada and the Middle East.
He has a diploma in Mathematics and Computer Science from Teesside Polytechnic.

Program Manager, The New Mentality

Caralyn Quan

Caralyn brings 10 years of experience in youth engagement and partnership development to CMHO. In her time with The New Mentality, she has led the program through a period of growth and innovation, including helping to write the CCA’s Youth Engagement Accreditation Standards, consulting with the provincial government on the mental health service framework, and developing and refining TNM’s youth-led policy model, establishing TNM as a key voice in the youth mental health conversation. Caralyn has participated in numerous sector leadership initiatives, most recently sitting on the Knowledge Institute’s Advisory Group for Youth Engagement Quality Standards. Prior to her work at CMHO, Caralyn worked as a community organizer and frontline youth worker. Outside of work, she is active in her community, volunteering as a youth hockey coach and currently serving as Vice-Chair on a City of Toronto Community Board.

Director, Operations and Member Relations

Cindy Prins

Cindy joined us from The Hospital for Sick Children, Research Institute, where she worked with Principal Investigators in the department for Neuroscience & Mental Health. She has a B.A. in Psychology from McMaster University. As Project Manager, Cindy has a lead role in areas including event management, CMHO board support, and office administration. Cindy is our point person for CMHO’s annual conference, member meetings and billing inquiries.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext. 124

Board member

Dr. Olabode Akintan

Dr. Olabode Akintan is an accomplished Child and Adolescent psychiatrist with a wealth of experience in the field. Until recently, he served as the Medical Director of various mental health services at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including the Child and Adolescent mental health inpatient unit, Psychiatry Emergency Services, Day
hospital, and Psychiatric Consultation Liaison service. Additionally, he held the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and was deputy chief of the Child division.

Dr. Akintan is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons as both a General and a Child and Adolescent psychiatrist. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Jos medical school in 1996. Following that, he pursued his psychiatry training at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, USA. He further specialized in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by completing a fellowship in the same field. After his training, he relocated to Canada.

In addition to his medical qualifications, Dr. Akintan also holds two MBA degrees, one from Cornell University in the United States and another from Queen’s University in Canada. This diverse educational background equips him with a unique perspective that combines medical expertise with business acumen.

Throughout his career, Dr. Akintan has actively contributed to various boards and organizations in both paid and volunteer capacities. He has served on the board of the Ontario Medical Association executive section on psychiatry, Regional Medical Associates, and the board of governors at Hillfield-Strathallan College. His dedication to mentorship is evident, particularly in his work with under-represented minority youth who are navigating critical career decisions. He has been recognized for his exceptional storytelling abilities during his appearances as a speaker at professional events.

Currently, Dr. Akintan is medical director of the Child and Adolescent mental health unit at Timmins and district hospital which he manages virtually and he runs a private practice in Oakville.

Board member

Edem Akan

Edem Akan is a Director of Innovation & Technology Delivery with Metrolinx. Prior to joining Metrolinx, she was with Toronto Transit Commission and City of Toronto responsible for transformation of service delivery using Technology. Before civil-service Edem ran her consulting practice providing Strategy and Technology services to many large sized clients in Canada and Germany.

Edem is passionate about Mental health awareness and creating environments with support systems that all parents and children can flourish in.

An immigrant, a daughter to a widowed mother and a mother to first generation Canadian daughters Edem is passionate about inclusivity and ensuring that the future caregivers of our land reflect and honor the original caregivers. She lives in the Roncesvalles High Park area of Toronto.

Board member

Emily McKernan

Emily is by training a lawyer with more than 13 years of experience helping large corporations, not-for-profits and individuals to resolve various types of litigation disputes. Emily spent the majority of her career in private practice assisting clients with issues related to professional liability and regulation, health law, insurance law, employment law and human rights. In addition, Emily was lucky to spend a portion of her career at the Legal Aid funded clinic Justice for Children and Youth, which is focussed on children’s rights. In this role, Emily advocated for children and youth across Ontario who were facing challenges with school, family, the child
welfare system and the criminal justice system. She was also involved with broader policy reform and advocacy in areas including privacy, reforms to the Child and Family Services Act and police record checks.

In addition to her legal background, Emily has since 2019 been a member of the Board of Directors of the Mabin School, which is a progressive independent school in Toronto, and Canada’s first independent Ashoka Changemaker School. Emily has help various leadership roles on that Board including two years as Vice-Chair and serving as the current Chair of the Governance Committee.

In addition to her law degree, Emily also holds a degree in psychology (B.A. Hons.). A parent to two school-aged children, Emily believes we have a societal responsibility to ensure all children have access to supports that will meet their mental health needs and to foster their social and emotional development.

Board member

Gregory J. Glenn

Greg is the current Board Chair of Kinark Child and Family Services, as well as Secretary Treasurer of the Kinark Foundation. Greg has spent over 40 years in the Canadian healthcare industry. During that time, he has held positions in Sales, Marketing, Government Relations and Public Affairs. A successful entrepreneur he was the President of The Glenn Group for 13 years and the Senior Vice President of The JBL Group from December 2006 until December 2015 where he was the primary government relations contact for the firm’s clients and worked with both bureaucratic and political staff.

Director, Strategic Relations and Communications

Jessica Behnke

Jessica joins CMHO from the adult community mental health and addiction sector, where she led advocacy work that contributed to mental health and addiction being a top election issue in 2018 for all political parties. She is passionate about building relationships and bringing government and direct service providers together to advance policy, and has ten years experience working in healthcare communications and government relations at membership associations, including at Addictions and Mental Health Ontario and the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada. Having supported two MPPs (Christine Elliott and Mitzie Hunter) through the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP), Jessica brings a strong understanding of political and legislative processes to the child and youth mental health sector.

Board member

Kathryn Rock

Kathryn Rock is a Family Group Conference Coordinator with the George Hull Centre. She has over 30 years of experience in senior leadership roles most recently being the founding Director and CEO for a Child and Family services organization operating in 3 Provinces. Kathryn has extensive experience with new program and service development and has led high performing teams in Children’s Mental Health, Child Welfare and Youth Justice.

Kathryn is a relationship-based leader and strategic visionary passionate about children’s mental health and advocating for services and resources to support better outcomes. As a creative problem solver she has led transformation and business planning processes while creating safe inclusive spaces that foster innovation and collaboration.

Director, Public Policy

Kerry Smuk

Kerry has worked in government for more than 15 years with almost 10 years in policy development and implementation at the provincial level. As an experienced Senior Policy Advisor with the Government of Ontario, she has led progressive social policy priorities in early years and child care, education and women’s issues. A skillful collaborator, Kerry has been involved in long term planning and has engaged across sectors and communities to provide strategic advice about complex policy objectives. She is a community Guider with Girl Guides of Canada and a Patient Family Advisor with North York General Hospital. She has a BA in Psychology and has also expanded her professional learning in non-profit and voluntary sector management.

Board Member

Mamta Chail

Mamta Chail is the Executive Director at Youthdale, Social Advocate/Disrupter and Mother of Two. These are just a few things that describe and drive Mamta’s passion for wellness and focus on improving the mental health and quality of life for children, youth and families.

Prior to her role at Youthdale, Mamta’s background is derived from over 20 years’ experience in the not for profit sector in counselling, addictions, mental health, justice and residential support. As a Social Advocate/Disrupter, Mamta is involved in a number of steering committees and networks to lead and inspire change at the municipal and provincial level.

At her core, Mamta is a proud mother of two. Her children and family drive her purpose. When she is not working, advocating or disrupting, Mamta spends her time with family enjoying copious amounts of chocolate and coffee!

Board member

Maria Talotta

Maria Talotta is the Director of Strategy and Transformation at Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO). Their work brings people together to co-develop and implement YWHO’s Integrated Youth Services (IYS) model and to bring to life YWHO’s vision of youth having ready access to high quality, developmentally appropriate, equitable and integrated mental health and substance use, primary care and social supports. Maria has a long history of partnership with youth, families, service providers and other system leaders working to co-develop system innovation and advance health equity.

Maria has extensive experience in health equity strategy in system transformation at Ontario Health and Health Quality Ontario and Addictions and Mental Health Ontario and was part of the team supporting the early development of the Centre of Excellence for Mental Health and Addiction (MHACoE) at Ontario Health. Maria started her career working in the child and youth mental health sector partnering with youth, families and communities to co-develop substance use service improvements and to build system capacity to provide harm reduction supports for youth. She holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a Masters in Behavioural Neuroscience (MSc) from Queen’s University.

Senior Program Manager

Mary-Anne Leahy

Mary-Anne is a youth engagement specialist with a wealth of experience in project management, network development, youth-led policy, event planning, and facilitation. She was previously a Network Coordinator for The New Mentality, ensuring the program enhances the health and lives of youth across Ontario. Her current role is Senior Program Manager.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext.133

Board Chair

Melanie Barwick


Melanie Barwick, PhD, CPsych is a Senior Scientist in the Child Evaluative Sciences Program of the SickKids’ Research Institute, and Head of the Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit (CYMHRU) in the Department of Psychiatry at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). She is affiliated with the SickKids’ Learning Institute where she conducts professional development in knowledge translation, and with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, as a scientist and member of the leadership.At the University of Toronto, she is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Policy, Measurement, and Evaluation.She is a Governing Board Director for the Wisdom to Action Network Centre of Excellence and AMREF Health Africa.


Board Member

Michael Dawthorne

Michael is the Director of Programs and Services Operations at Canadian Hearing Services and previous Board Chair of Parents for Children’s Mental Health. He currently serves on numerous boards and committees related to accessibility, disabilities, and mental health. He is a graduate from the University of Western Ontario (BA), Mohawk College (Labour Studies) and Lambton College (Community Advocacy). Michael is a passionate advocate for community and global change, particularly in the areas of Children and Families; Human Rights and Equality; and Accessibility. Much of his time is spent supporting and advocating for his son with Autism, developmental disability, and mental illness.

Board member

Peter Hickey

A senior finance leader with progressive financial, corporate and operational management experience in large multi-national matrix and privately held organizations, and in the public non-for-profit sector. Demonstrated leadership in corporate financial and strategic planning, cost controls, risk management, treasury, system and process optimization and team management. Peter is currently Director of Finance and Administration with the the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAS Toronto).

Peter believes in the need to support children, youth, and families within the community, therefore, would be committed to supporting the organization in their continued mission of providing quality and accessible services to all those in need.

Chief Executive Officer

Tatum Wilson

Tatum Wilson is the CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario. He has over 20 years of experience in multiple health and social policy environments, including government, academic health science centres, and advocacy organizations. His accomplishments include overseeing the development of Ontario’s first Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and managing the development and implementation of Ontario’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. Previous roles include Director of the Youth Strategies Branch, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; Director of Stakeholder Relations at the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario; Director of Community Engagement and Planning at CAMH; and other senior roles in government.

Tatum has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from McMaster University and a Master of Health Science in Health Administration from the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is a passionate promoter of equity and social justice issues and a leader in community engagement, communications and advocacy.

Communications Specialist

Taylor Salisbury

Taylor is a Communications Specialist with more than seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Joining CMHO with a B.Sc. in Psychology from Western University and an Advanced Diploma in Child and Youth Care, Taylor brings experience working with youth from underserved communities and a commitment to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in her work. She has had lead roles in areas such as program coordination and facilitation, curriculum development, content and design, communications and marketing, brand supervision, web design, and more. She is passionate about language, the power of words, and creating inclusive, accessible digital media content. Taylor is our point person for CMHO’s website, newsletters, social media, and other communications.

Board member

Tesa Fiddler

Tesa Fiddler is Anishinabek with family roots throughout Northwestern Ontario. She is currently the English Literacy Development Teacher with the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. In partnership with Dr. Lisa Korteweg at Lakehead University, Tesa has conducted research in FNMI education and FNMI student success. She has also taught courses at the university which specialize in FNMI education and supporting teacher candidates in their role as culturally responsive and relevant educators. In addition to her work for the Thunder Bay Catholic board, Tesa has also taught at York University, Lakehead University, Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, and Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education Institute. Tesa also actively volunteers her time and expertise as a member of CMHO’s Family Action Committee, as well as a member of the Parent Council at Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and as a Governor with Confederation College.

Program Manager, Family Partnership

Vicki Cochrane

Vicki Cochrane is a parent with lived experience, having raised two boys with exceptions who have required constant advocacy and support throughout their childhood. Vicki has over 20 years of experience in child welfare as a Child and Youth Worker, working closely with many vulnerable families to advocate for their needs and support them in navigating systems. She is an original member of the Knowledge Institute Family Advisory Council and has represented the family voice in several provincial initiatives such as co-developing Quality Standards of Care in the child and youth mental health and addictions sector, the Innovation Initiatives grant selection committee, and the Middle Years Advisory Committee. She is passionate about volunteerism, advocacy for family-centered care, family engagement practices, and the value of peer support being integrated into our healthcare systems.

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