Brett Harris

Director of Public Health Initiatives

Suicide Prevention Office, New York State Office of Mental Health

As the sole person with a public health background in the Suicide Prevention Office of the New York State Office of Mental Health, Dr. Brett Harris transformed the department from clinically focused to being public-health-focused. As the Director of Public Health Initiatives, Brett’s vision, persistence, strategic teamwork, and communication skills have helped improve public health outcomes statewide. She implements Suicide Safer Care across New York State, fosters community-level suicide prevention, and develops protocols and initiatives for populations at increased risk for suicide, including those with substance misuse. 

Brett received her Doctorate and Master of Public Health in Health Policy, Management, and Behavior from the University at Albany School of Public Health and her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Cornell University, with concentrations in Social Policy and Adolescence. In keeping with her personal philosophy of maintaining a strong mind in a strong body, Brett has run 49 marathons and completed 12 half Ironman triathlons.

BOLD SOLUTION: Brett developed content and prevention strategies to link the issues of both suicide prevention and substance use prevention so that communities and providers can easily access resources to improve health outcomes.
I will continue to work to ensure that behavioral health is recognized and highlighted in the public health agenda. With input from my team, partners, and collaborators, I will continue to envision new ideas and ways to get those ideas funded, implemented, evaluated, and disseminated across the state.