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Staff Spotlight: Benjamin Fisher

November 8, 2023 | Erin Bluvas,

If you’re curious about what’s involved in the day-to-day running of an NIH-funded research lab, just follow Benjamin Fisher around for a day. The research project coordinator is the right-hand man for health promotion, education, and behavior assistant professor Jennifer Fillo in running her Carolina Health and Relationships Mechanisms (CHARM) Lab.

“I love working with students, and I love working with research study participants,” say Fisher, who is currently coordinating a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded project aimed at understanding the ways in which romantic partners can influence and support each other in reducing problematic alcohol use. “I take pride in the fact that Dr. Fillo’s NIH-funded studies will have a positive impact on helping people address problematic alcohol consumption.”

Benjamin Fisher
Benjamin Fisher is the project coordinator for the Carolina Health and Relationships Mechanisms (CHARM) Lab. 

A typical day might involve activities related to hiring and supervising research assistants. Fisher says that Fillo has a great track record of finding bright undergraduates and helping them obtain funding (e.g., Magellan Scholar Grants) to support their work in the lab. He’s proud of the fact that these students can receive mentorship and valuable experience as well as pursue their own research interests.

For the Relationships and Alcohol Interview Study, Fisher recruits and screens participants and facilitates qualitative interviews. He spends a lot of time working in the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap), which the CHARM lab team utilizes to manage the workflow and collect data for the study.

"Project coordinators like Ben are the unsung heroes of research," Fillo says. "He has a hand in everything from participant recruitment and data collection to managing research assistants, maintaining our website, and helping me tackle the administrative work behind the scenes. He helps make it all possible. We're so fortunate to have him as part of our team!"

Fisher joined the Arnold School 18 months ago – not long after Fillo arrived at USC – but his career has always focused on making an impact. The Columbia-area native majored in African Studies and Journalism at Emory University, completed graduate course work in Gender Studies at Queen’s University in Canada and spent a semester abroad in Uganda during his time at Emory.

I love working with students, and I love working with research study participants. I take pride in the fact that Dr. Fillo’s NIH-funded studies will have a positive impact on helping people address problematic alcohol consumption.

Benjamin Fisher

Over the past 10 years, Fisher has complemented his educational background with a diverse array of professional experiences. He previously worked at Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavior Studies, Garden State Equality, Newark Community Health Centers, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis. Prior to managing the CHARM Lab, he served as a clinical research coordinator at BioSerenity, a startup focused on sleep research.

“Most of my work experience has been related to HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and other public health issues,” Fisher says. “My college study abroad experience in Uganda, and my work experience in HIV and Viral Hepatitis heavily influenced my approach to my job and public health more broadly.”

"Ben brings a wealth of experience interacting with diverse communities across a variety of public health, non-profit, research and academic settings," says Fillo. "He's a great example for my students of the value of gaining hands-on experience beyond the classroom."  

The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


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