The BMSR provides expertise and training to support the needs of prevention, cancer control and clinical researchers in their pursuit of behavioral research investigation and methods.

  • Director: Michelle Naughton, PhD
  • Program Director: Heather Aker, MPH
  • Program Manager: Caroline Gault, MPH
  • Qualitative Research Specialist: Jill Oliveri, DrPh, MPH
  • Population-Based Data Retrieval Specialist: James Fisher, PhD
  • Data Collection Specialist: Cathy Tatum, MA
  • Recruitment and Accrual Specialist: Cecilia DeGraffinreid, MHS, RHIA

Michelle Naughton, PhD, focuses her research on lifestyle and psychological factors that influence health and disease. Her work also examines the impact of illness and health care interventions on health-related quality of life. One of her major research efforts is a longitudinal project on the quality-of-life impact of breast cancer and its treatment on women between the ages of 18 and 45.

Dr. Naughton has co-authored more than 70 articles appearing in such well-respected journals as Cancer, Quality of Life Research, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology. She also was co-editor of the journal Value in Health.

Heather Aker, MPH, serves as the technical and administrative manager and program director of the BMSR. She works closely with faculty and staff to ensure timely, high-quality and cost-effective work.

Aker specializes in the design and construction of tailored applications for data collection and management. Her secure, web-based creations streamline the recruitment process and provide for detailed respondent tracking and reporting. She also offers interviewer training that focuses on survey response rates and the participation of hard-to-reach populations.

She received her BS from Youngstown State University and her MPH with specialization in epidemiology from Ohio State.

Caroline Gault, MPH, a program manager with the BMSR, makes research more applicable to improving community health behaviors.

Gault designs secure mobile data collection and integration tools for use in the field. As part of her research interests, she recognizes the importance of collecting and managing data that can be analyzed in an efficient, useful manner.

She has a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and an MPH with a specialization in health behavior and health promotion from Ohio State.

Jill Oliveri, DrPH, MPH, is the BMSR specialist for qualitative research. She is also a clinical research manager in population sciences at the OSUCCC – James, where she manages studies on underserved and minority populations, as well as on quantitative methods.

Dr. Oliveri has been extensively involved with all qualitative research activities within the BMSR. She is an expert in quantitative methods and has trained several research staff members in qualitative analysis and software application.

She earned her MPH from Ohio State and her DrPH from the University of South Carolina.

James Fisher, PhD, an adjunct associate professor of epidemiology in Ohio State’s College of Public Health, works with colleagues in the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System (OCISS) at The Ohio Department of Health to examine the occurrence of cancer in Ohio. Over the years, he has helped create more than 100 reports and articles describing cancer burdens in Ohio and the United States. He uses data from such cancer-related sources as the OCISS, Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Dr. Fisher is interested in cancer-related disparities, methods of identifying spatial clusters of cancer and improving cancer surveillance systems in the United States.

Cathy Tatum, MA, the BMSR specialist for data collection, is also a program director in population sciences at the OSUCCC – James. She has been a program director for several OSUCCC – James research projects and NIH-funded, cancer control research, community-based projects.

Recent projects include a P01 grant (Improving Uptake of Cervical Cancer Prevention Services in Appalachia), an R01 RISE (Rural Interventions for Screening Effectiveness) grant and a P50 grant (Project 4 of the Community Awareness Resources and Education Project) for Ohio State’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities.

Tatum’s expertise includes developing and implementing NIH-funded cancer control community-based research projects; managing research projects among underserved minority and rural populations; coordinating investigators, staff and study populations; and using survey data collection methods and procedures. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Cecilia DeGraffinreid, MHS, RHIA, is the BMSR specialist for recruitment and accrual, as well as a program director in the population sciences division of the OSUCCC – James.  

She has years of experience in all aspects of managing large, multi-centered, NIH/NCI, industry and cooperative group cancer control clinical trials. Among her primary interests is access to health care, especially the inclusion of minorities and the underserved in research studies.

DeGraffinreid earned her MHS from Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC.


The Behavioral Measurement Shared Resource (BMSR) maintains the following equipment and resources:

  • TeleForm, a paper-based data capture system designed to offer flexibility in capturing handwritten data 
  • REDCap, a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases 
  • NVivo, software that supports qualitative and mixed methods research by allowing for organization and analysis of unstructured or qualitative data 
  • Voxco, a state-of-the-art telephony system that integrates with interview software to allow for detailed respondent management and live interviewer monitoring

Contact BMSR

Heather Aker, MPH
Program Director
Phone: 614-293-7846
Fax: 614-293-5611 

1590 N. High St.
Suite 525
Columbus, OH 43201

Availability: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Assistance provided for other schedules on an as-needed basis.

Additional Contacts:

Caroline Gault, MPH
Phone: 614-293-2452

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