Ms. Akesson studied at Columbia University in New York City, where she earned a B.A. in Sociology from Columbia College, an M.P.H. in Forced Migration and Health from the Mailman School of Public Health, and a M.S.S.W. in Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities from Columbia University's School of Social Work. Ms. Akesson is currently a Ph.D.
Originally from Victoria, British Columbia Denise found her way to Social Work through arts based Community building projects. A desire to be more instrumental in the healing process led her to a BSW and an MSW in the late nineties after she had completed a BA in Women’s Studies with a minor in Women and the Fine Arts, with Distinction.