Staff: Heather Platter, Ph.D., M.S.

Heather Platter

Heather Platter, Ph.D., M.S.

Current Fellow

Cancer Prevention Fellow
Organization: Contact:
heather.platter@nih.gov
240-276-7177

Heather Platter, Ph.D., M.S., is a Cancer Prevention Fellow (CPF) in the Office of the Associate Director (OAD) with a secondary appointment in the Tobacco Control Research Branch (TCRB) of the Behavioral Research Program.

Dr. Platter's research interests fall within the areas of health literacy and health communication, with a focus on risk perception and risk communication, health misinformation, and decision-making. Topics of interest include tobacco control and prevention, smoking cessation, lung cancer screening, and genetic literacy.

Dr. Platter is interested in examining cancer risk perceptions and tobacco product harm judgments in different populations, such as cancer survivors, dual- and poly-tobacco users, and light or non-daily smokers. She also wants to pursue research examining smoker identity, including how identity relates to defensive processing of risk information and how affective factors and social processes like self-affirmation influence decision-making. Furthermore, she hopes to examine patient-provider communication in healthcare systems, such as communicating genetic risk information and informed/shared decision-making about lung cancer screening.

Dr. Platter received her Ph.D. in Behavioral and Community Health from the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park. While at Maryland, Dr. Platter was awarded the Rudd Health Literacy Fellowship from the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy and she received the Robin Sawyer Health Communication and Teaching Award. For her dissertation, she conducted a grounded theory study exploring health literacy and informed decision-making about lung cancer screening among older adult long-term smokers. Dr. Platter received her Bachelor and Master of Science, with a focus in Social and Behavioral Public Health, from the University of Florida. Her master's thesis examined whether non-enforced smoke-free signage affected smoking behaviors and reduced environmental tobacco smoke exposure in public parks within a preemption state.


Secondary Branch/Office Appointment:  Tobacco Control Research Branch (TCRB)

Current and/or past BRP mentors include William Klein and Stephanie Land.


Research Areas

  • Decision-making
  • Risk perception and risk communication
  • Health literacy
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Tobacco control and prevention, smoking cessation

Selected Publications and Presentations