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Brett Harris

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Research Scientist
Brett is a national leader in suicide prevention research, evaluation, and technical assistance.

Brett is a senior research scientist in the Public Health department at NORC. Brett brings 14 years of experience in behavioral health with a focus on substance use and suicide prevention, early intervention, and treatment and expertise in training, technical assistance, research, and evaluation. At NORC, she leads a suicide prevention portfolio funded by SAMHSA, CDC, and private foundations and organizations and is involved in Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for substance misuse and co-morbid depression, anxiety, and suicide risk.

Prior to her role at NORC, Brett was director of public health initiatives for the Suicide Prevention Center of New York, a public health affiliate of the New York State Office of Mental Health, where she oversaw initiatives related to communities, schools, colleges and universities, implementation of Zero Suicide, and the relationship between substance use and suicide; wrote, obtained, and directed federal and private foundation grants; and built and supervised a staff of seven. Prior to her role in suicide prevention, Brett developed, implemented, and evaluated SBIRT projects for various populations and service settings with the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Brett is President of the New York Public Health Association (NYSPHA), the New York State Affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA); she was originally elected to the Board of Directors in 2018. In her tenure as President, Brett spearheaded a New Directions Initiative to make the association more membership-driven and started a new committee to engage members in public health practice, taking on critical public health issues including suicide prevention, the opioid crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and reproductive rights. As a result of these efforts, NYSPHA was named 2023 Outstanding Affiliate of the Year by the APHA Council of Affiliates. Brett also maintains a part-time position as Clinical Associate Professor at the University at Albany School of Public Health where she developed and teaches a course on suicide prevention and provides internships for graduate-level public health students.

Brett has authored or co-authored 20 peer-reviewed publications. Her work has appeared in Preventive Medicine, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Journal of School Health, Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, and Substance Abuse, among others. In addition, Brett was selected for APHA’s Mental Health Section Award and Council of Affiliates Award of Excellence in 2023, PoliticsNY’s Power Players in Health Care in 2022 and 2023, and the de Beaumont Foundation’s inaugural list of 40 Under 40 in Public Health in 2019.



University at Albany School of Public Health


University at Albany School of Public Health


Cornell University

Appointments & Affiliations


New York State Public Health Association (NYSPHA)

Board of Directors

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Capital Region New York Chapter

Clinical Associate Professor

University at Albany School of Public Health

Honors & Awards

Mental Health Section Award | 2023

American Public Health Association

Council of Affiliates Award for Excellence | 2023

American Public Health Association

Council of Affiliates Outstanding Affiliate of the Year | 2023

American Public Health Association

New York Power Players in Health Care | 2022 and 2023


40 Under 40 Public Health Leaders | 2019

de Beaumont Foundation

Center for Climate, Health, and Equity Excellence in Climate Leadership Award | 2023

American Public Health Association

Project Contributions

ND HOPES Suicide Prevention Initiative

Implementing a multi-tiered approach to suicide prevention in western North Dakota


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

HHS OMH Performance Improvement Management System

Identifying best and promising practices to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities


DHHS Office of Minority Health

Crisis Intercept Mapping Analysis for Suicide Prevention

Identifying gaps in preventive and crisis services to inform early implementation of the 988 Lifeline


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Suicide Prevention Resource Guides to Support LGBTQIA2S+ Youth

Advancing a strengths-based approach to suicide prevention for LGBTQIA2S+ youth through resource and focus guides


Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Adolescent SBIRT Initiative: Preparing the Health Professional Workforce

Preparing Health Professionals to Screen and Intervene for Youth Substance Use and Mental Health Risk


Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Managing Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care

Implementation and evaluation of screening, intervention, and treatment for unhealthy alcohol use


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Community Overdose Prevention Education: Project COPE

Evaluating the impact of training on behavior change, naloxone distribution, and overdose in New York state


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Assessment of JED Campus Approach to Suicide Prevention

Recommendations for enhancing implementation of the nation’s leading college suicide prevention program


JED Foundation

SBIRT Community Outreach in New York State

Implementing a novel Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model to serve disproportionately affected populations


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

SMVF Technical Assistance Center

Supporting data-driven approaches to improving crisis care for service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF)


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Jointly Addressing Substance Use and Suicide in Colorado

First integrated SBIRT and suicide care curriculum to support Colorado trainers and health professionals


Peer Assistance Services, Inc.

Mental Health Resources for LGBTQIA2S+ Community