Sandy Rao

Sandy Rao formerly held the role of Director of Mental Health & Addictions at Ontario Health overseeing the strategy, planning, funding and evaluation of mental health and addictions programs and services for approximately 5 million Ontarians by the end of her tenure. Before leaving Ontario to pursue her PhD as an Eyes High scholar, she was appointed to setting up Ontario’s first Centre of Excellence for Mental Health & Addictions and had the distinct privilege of leading the COVID-19 Mental Health and Addictions strategy for the Central Region when the pandemic first began. A lifelong learner, Sandy has since studied at the Rotman School of Business, Harvard University and has been certified in Community Engagement, Indigenous Cultural Safety, Lean Six Sigma and User Experience Design. Sandy continues to practice as a Registered Social Worker and Registered Psychotherapist licensed in both Ontario and Alberta. In her clinical practice, Sandy has worked with individuals with facial differences providing therapeutic support along their journey. However, the larger systemic impacts that AboutFace is working towards in terms of education, advocacy, social justice and stigma reduction across Canada is something that Sandy is particularly passionate about in her health systems work, clinical practice and areas of research.