Skip to Main Content

Uppala Chandrasekera


Uppala Chandrasekera, M.S.W., RSW, is a Social Worker with over 20 years of work experience in the health sector, ranging from frontline work assisting individuals and families with mental health and addictions issues, to supporting mental health and addictions programming province-wide, and implementing the national strategy to address mental health across Canada.

Uppala is the Director of Public Policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, where she provides leadership for public policy work in six program areas, including: Health systems transformation; Addictions and complex care, Housing, employment and social determinants of health; Health promotion across the lifespan; Criminal justice; Health equity and social inclusion. Uppala provides strategic policy advice to Ontario’s Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee. From 2017-2020, she served on the Toronto Police Services Board, the first mental health professional to be appointed to this role. From 2012-2018, she served on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the national organization mandated to improve the mental health system through sound public policy. From 2008-2014, she also served on the Board of Directors of Parkdale Community Health Centre, a primary care health centre focused on engaging with traditionally underserved communities in Toronto.

Through her research, published writings and work in the community, Uppala examines the impact of the lived experience of discrimination and racism on the health, mental health and wellbeing of marginalized populations. You can reach her at and on Twitter @UppalaC