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


LeBlanc, TW, Nickolich, M, Rushing, CN, Samsa, GP, Locke, SC, and Abernethy, AP. "What bothers lung cancer patients the most? A prospective, longitudinal electronic patient-reported outcomes study in advanced non-small cell lung cancer." Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer 23, no. 12 (December 2015): 3455-3463.

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Kamal, AH, Kavalieratos, D, Bull, J, Stinson, CS, Nicolla, J, and Abernethy, AP. "Usability and Acceptability of the QDACT-PC, an Electronic Point-of-Care System for Standardized Quality Monitoring in Palliative Care." Journal of pain and symptom management 50, no. 5 (November 2015): 615-621.

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Smith, SK, O'Donnell, JD, Abernethy, AP, MacDermott, K, Staley, T, and Samsa, GP. "Evaluation of Pillars4life: a virtual coping skills program for cancer survivors." Psycho-oncology 24, no. 11 (November 2015): 1407-1415.

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Burns, EJ, Quinn, SJ, Abernethy, AP, and Currow, DC. "Caregiver Expectations: Predictors of a Worse Than Expected Caregiving Experience at the End of Life." Journal of pain and symptom management 50, no. 4 (October 2015): 453-461.

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Somers, TJ, Abernethy, AP, Edmond, SN, Kelleher, SA, Wren, AA, Samsa, GP, and Keefe, FJ. "A Pilot Study of a Mobile Health Pain Coping Skills Training Protocol for Patients With Persistent Cancer Pain." Journal of pain and symptom management 50, no. 4 (October 2015): 553-558.

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Wysham, NG, Miriovsky, BJ, Currow, DC, Herndon, JE, Samsa, GP, Wilcock, A, and Abernethy, AP. "Practical Dyspnea Assessment: Relationship Between the 0-10 Numerical Rating Scale and the Four-Level Categorical Verbal Descriptor Scale of Dyspnea Intensity." Journal of pain and symptom management 50, no. 4 (October 2015): 480-487.

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LeBlanc, TW, Samsa, GP, Wolf, SP, Locke, SC, Cella, DF, and Abernethy, AP. "Validation and real-world assessment of the Functional Assessment of Anorexia-Cachexia Therapy (FAACT) scale in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and the cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS)." Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer 23, no. 8 (August 2015): 2341-2347.

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Long, GV, Atkinson, V, Ascierto, PA, Robert, C, Hassel, JC, Rutkowski, P, Savage, KJ, Taylor, F, Coon, C, Gilloteau, I, Dastani, HB, Waxman, I, and Abernethy, AP. "CHECKMATE 066: EFFECT OF NIVOLUMAB (NIVO) ON QUALITY OF LIFE (QoL) IN PATIENTS (pts) WITH TREATMENT-NAIVE ADVANCED MELANOMA (MEL)." ASIA-PACIFIC JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY 11 (August 2015): 58-58.


Dueck, AC, Mendoza, TR, Mitchell, SA, Reeve, BB, Castro, KM, Rogak, LJ, Atkinson, TM, Bennett, AV, Denicoff, AM, O'Mara, AM, Li, Y, Clauser, SB, Bryant, DM, Bearden, JD, Gillis, TA, Harness, JK, Siegel, RD, Paul, DB, Cleeland, CS, Schrag, D, Sloan, JA, Abernethy, AP, Bruner, DW, Minasian, LM, and Basch, E. "Validity and Reliability of the US National Cancer Institute's Patient-Reported Outcomes Version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE)." JAMA oncology (August 2015).

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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 (July 7, 2015).

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