Amy Pickar Abernethy, MD

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine
Professor in the School of Nursing
Member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute
Campus mail Duke Box 3436, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 668-0647
Email address

Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD
Director, Center for Learning Health Care
Director, Duke Cancer Care Research Program
Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Nursing, Duke University School of Nursing

Dr. Abernethy, a hematologist/oncologist and palliative care physician, is Professor of Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine, Director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care (CLHC) in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and Director of the Duke Cancer Care Research Program (DCCRP) in the Duke Cancer Institute. With over 375 publications, she is an internationally recognized expert in health services research, comparative effectiveness research, patient reported outcomes (PROs), clinical informatics and patient-centered care.

Dr. Abernethy is an appointee to the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum, Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Personalized Medicine Coalition, Co-Chair of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group, Co-Chair of the PRO Core for the NIH Collaboratory Program, and Chair of the PRO Task Force for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute National Clinical Research Network.  She Co-Leads the Learning Health System Training Program at Duke.  She serves on the Board of Directors for athenahealth.  Dr. Abernethy participates integrally in current high-level national and international discussions about reforming the evidence development system, presenting a model for a rapid learning health care that coordinates clinical and research functions to better serve patients’ needs in an evidence-driven, cost-effective, and patient-centered manner.

Clinically, Dr. Abernethy was previously responsible for the care of patients with melanoma, in conjunction with the surgeons and radiation oncologists of the Duke Melanoma Clinic. She is Principal Investigator on major international studies for metastatic melanoma, and has published in areas pertinent to the epidemiology of melanoma, longitudinal care patterns, and improving the melanoma patient experience. Dr. Abernethy also previously attended on Duke's palliative care service, with special focus on improving the quality of life for people affected by advanced cancer including their families. Dr. Abernethy completed medical training, residency, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Duke University.

Education and Training

  • Fellow In Hematology Oncology, Medicine, Duke University, 1999 - 2001
  • Chief Medical Resident, Medicine, Duke University, 1998 - 1999
  • Fellow In Hematology Oncology, Medicine, Duke University, 1997 - 1998
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, Duke University, 1994 - 1997
  • M.D., Duke University, 1994


Kelleher, SA, Somers, TJ, Locklear, T, Crosswell, AD, and Abernethy, AP. "Using patient reported outcomes in oncology clinical practice." Scandinavian Journal of Pain 13 (October 2016): 6-11.

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Nipp, RD, Zullig, LL, Samsa, G, Peppercorn, JM, Schrag, D, Taylor, DH, Abernethy, AP, and Zafar, SY. "Identifying cancer patients who alter care or lifestyle due to treatment-related financial distress." Psycho-oncology 25, no. 6 (June 2016): 719-725.


Nussbaum, N, George, DJ, Abernethy, AP, Dolan, CM, Oestreicher, N, Flanders, S, and Dorff, TB. "Patient experience in the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: state of the science." Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases 19, no. 2 (June 2016): 111-121.

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Hwang, ES, Locklear, TD, Rushing, CN, Samsa, G, Abernethy, AP, Hyslop, T, and Atisha, DM. "Patient-Reported Outcomes After Choice for Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy." May 2016.


Berger, ML, Curtis, MD, Smith, G, Harnett, J, and Abernethy, AP. "Opportunities and challenges in leveraging electronic health record data in oncology." Future Oncology 12, no. 10 (May 2016): 1261-1274.

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Hirsch, BR, Locke, SC, and Abernethy, AP. "Experience of the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program on Community-Based Cancer Clinical Trials Activity." Journal of oncology practice 12, no. 4 (April 2016): e350-e358.


Samsa, GP, Wolf, S, LeBlanc, TW, and Abernethy, AP. "An Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Scale Structure of the Patient Care Monitor Version 2.0." Journal of pain and symptom management 51, no. 4 (April 2016): 776-783.e2.


Kamal, AH, Bull, JH, Wolf, SP, Swetz, KM, Shanafelt, TD, Ast, K, Kavalieratos, D, Sinclair, CT, and Abernethy, AP. "Prevalence and Predictors of Burnout Among Hospice and Palliative Care Clinicians in the U.S." Journal of pain and symptom management 51, no. 4 (April 2016): 690-696.


Temel, JS, Abernethy, AP, Currow, DC, Friend, J, Duus, EM, Yan, Y, and Fearon, KC. "Anamorelin in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and cachexia (ROMANA 1 and ROMANA 2): results from two randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trials." The Lancet. Oncology 17, no. 4 (April 2016): 519-531.


Kamal, AH, Bull, J, Wolf, S, Samsa, GP, Swetz, KM, Myers, ER, Shanafelt, TD, and Abernethy, AP. "Characterizing the Hospice and Palliative Care Workforce in the U.S.: Clinician Demographics and Professional Responsibilities." Journal of pain and symptom management 51, no. 3 (March 2016): 597-603.