Director Harding serves as the lead for SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness, which creates environments where youth, adults, families, communities, and systems are motivated and empowered to manage their overall emotional, behavioral, and physical health. In addition to representing SAMHSA on interagency efforts to prevent underage drinking, prescription drug misuse and abuse, and marijuana use among youth and young adults, Director Harding collaborates with SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services on program and policy issues related to the connection between substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion.
Prior to federal service, Director Harding served as Associate Commissioner of the Division of Prevention and Recovery at the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, where she was responsible for the development of policy and guidelines for alcohol and drug abuse and gambling prevention, treatment, and recovery programming.
Director Harding has held numerous national positions, including serving as president of the National Prevention Network, an organization representing the alcohol and drug abuse prevention offices in all 50 states, and as New York State’s representative to the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. In 2004, she became the first non-researcher to receive the prestigious Science to Practice Award from the International Society for Prevention Research.