Founder and President of The Harris Project
Stephanie Marquesano received her BA in Political Science and Public Communication from Brooklyn College, Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, and is a former school board member and PTA president. Stephanie’s 19-year-old son Harris died by accidental overdose in 2013. While Harris’s story is all too familiar, Stephanie takes a proactive, collaborative, and transformational approach to the overdose and suicide epidemics gripping our nation. Like millions, Harris had co-occurring disorders (COD) - the combination of one or more mental health challenges and substance misuse/addiction. Launched at his funeral, the harris project is the nation’s only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to advancing prevention programming and the development of an integrated system of care to improve the lives of teens and young adults with COD.
Stephanie is a member of the New York State (NYS) NIDA HEALing Communities Study Advisory Board and national dissemination workgroup; NYS Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board; NYS Partnership for Integrated Care; and, a lead in the Mid-Hudson Region Co-Occurring System of Care effort. Stephanie also co-chairs the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health's Co-Occurring System of Care Committee. Stephanie leads a multi-agency project delivering Encompass, an integrated evidence-based treatment modality, to Westchester County teens and young adults. CODA, the peer-led Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness prevention movement created by the harris project, has made incredible strides in empowering our youth to take an active role in raising awareness, connecting with peers, and linking to resources. Stephanie’s work and Harris's story were featured in a New York Times Sunday Review opinion piece by Jeneen Interlandi: "Experts Say We Have the Tools to Fight Addiction. So Why Are More Americans Overdosing Than Ever?" She was also a TED presenter at the 2023 National Council for Mental Wellbeing Conference.
Stephanie strives to save lives and improve outcomes.
Join our diverse panel of parents who have experienced the New York State Mental Health system firsthand. Through their stories, gain valuable insights into navigating youth mental health challenges. Also hear from a researcher from the Born This Way Foundation who has been evaluating what makes a difference to youth and families. Discover practical strategies for communication, early recognition, and resilience-building within your family. Empower yourself to make a positive impact on your family's mental wellness journey.