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Kana Enomoto

Senior Expert, Washington DC
National leader in mental-health and substance-use policy, data, programs, and practice improvement


Kana specializes in behavioral health, public health, and delivery-system reform. She has more than 20 years of experience as a federal executive in mental-health and substance-use policy, data, programs, and practice improvement. Kana is an adaptive leader with a strong record of achieving public-policy goals, delivering programmatic impact, and inspiring organizational and social change.

Examples of Kana’s recent client work include the following:

  • serving as content director on a study to expand the state’s behavioral-health services to children in the Medicaid program
  • acting as content director for a study partnering with a large, national advocacy organization to raise awareness about opioid-use disorders and reduce stigma associated with the condition
  • advising a major payer developing a new corporate vision, including a transformational approach to meeting the behavioral health needs of its members

Prior to joining McKinsey, Kana was a senior advisor and acting chief of staff to the Surgeon General of the United States. In this capacity, she provided strategic guidance to the Surgeon General’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Previously, she was acting administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Appointed in 2015 by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, she provided executive direction and policy leadership for an agency with more than 600 employees and a fiscal year budget of over $4 billion.

Prior to entering government, Kana did health research and clinical services with a focus on minority mental health and trauma. She has received awards in recognition of her work, including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the American College of Mental Health Administration King Davis Award, and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Published Work

Addressing the unprecedented behavioral-health challenges facing Generation Z,” McKinsey & Company, January 2022

COVID-19 and burnout are straining the mental health of employed parents,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

How affordable is mental healthcare? The long-term impact on financial health,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

How employers can improve their approach to mental health at work,” McKinsey & Company, September 2021

Improving mental health: An interview with One Mind’s Garen Staglin,” McKinsey & Company, August 2021

Overcoming stigma: Three strategies toward better mental health in the workplace,” McKinsey Quarterly, July 2021

Returning to work: Keys to a psychologically safer workplace,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

National surveys reveal disconnect between employees and employers around mental health need,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

COVID-19 and rural communities: Protecting rural lives and health,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

Insights on utilization of behavioral health services in the context of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

Unlocking whole person care through behavioral health,” McKinsey & Company, February 2021

COVID-19 and behavioral health: Consequences for companies and employees,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

Strong minds, strong futures: Behavioral health for the next generation,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Understanding the hidden costs of COVID-19’s potential impact on US healthcare,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

A holistic approach for the US behavioral health crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Insights on racial and ethnic health inequity in the context of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

National employer survey reveals behavioral health in a COVID-19 era as a major concern,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

The implications of COVID-19 for vulnerable populations,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Returning to resilience: The impact of COVID-19 on mental health and substance use,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Insights on mental health from a 2019 McKinsey Consumer survey,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2018

What is Behavioral Health Worth?, Public Health Reports, January–February 2015

Past Experience

Office of the Surgeon General
Senior advisor

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Acting administrator, principal deputy


University of California at Los Angeles
MA, clinical psychology
BA, psychology