Peter A Ubel, MD

Professor of Business Administration
Madge and Dennis T. McLawhorn University Professor
Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Professor of Medicine
Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 100 Fuqua Dr, Box 90120, Room W309, Durham, NC 27708-0120
Phone (919) 660-8003
Email address

I am a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University. My research and writing explores the quirks in human nature that influence our lives — the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness and the way our society functions. (What fun would it be to tackle just the easy problems?)

I am currently exploring controversial issues about the role of values and preferences in health care decision making, from decisions at the bedside to policy decisions. I use the tools of decision psychology and behavioral economics to explore topics like informed consent, shared decision making and health care spending. My books include Pricing Life (MIT Press 2000) and Free Market Madness (Harvard Business Press, 2009). My newest book, Critical Decisions (HarperCollins), came out in September of 2012, and explores the challenges of shared decision making between doctors and patients.

Education and Training

  • M.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1988
  • B.A., Carleton College, 1984


LeBlanc, Thomas William, Catherine T. Bloom, Debra M. Davis, Susan C. Locke, Karen E. Steinhauser, Peter A. Ubel, James A. Tulsky, and Amy Pickar Abernethy. “Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Patients’ Understanding of Prognosis and Treatment Goals: A Mixed-Methods Study..” In Journal of Clinical Oncology, 33:e17741–e17741. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 2015.

Full Text

LeBlanc, Thomas William, Steven Wolf, Debra M. Davis, Greg Samsa, Susan C. Locke, Karen E. Steinhauser, Peter A. Ubel, James A. Tulsky, and Amy Pickar Abernethy. “Symptom burden, quality of life, and distress in acute myeloid leukemia patients receiving induction chemotherapy: A prospective electronic patient-reported outcomes study..” In Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol. 33. AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, 2015.


Zafar, S Yousuf, Peter A. Ubel, James A. Tulsky, and Kathryn I. Pollak. “Cost-related health literacy: a key component of high-quality cancer care..” J Oncol Pract 11, no. 3 (May 2015): 171–73.

Full Text

Holliday, Emma, Kent A. Griffith, Rochelle De Castro, Abigail Stewart, Peter Ubel, and Reshma Jagsi. “Gender differences in resources and negotiation among highly motivated physician-scientists..” Journal of General Internal Medicine 30, no. 4 (April 2015): 401–7.

Full Text

Riggs, Kevin R., and Peter A. Ubel. “The role of professional societies in limiting indication creep..” Journal of General Internal Medicine 30, no. 2 (February 2015): 249–52.

Full Text

Ubel, Peter A., and David A. Asch. “Creating value in health by understanding and overcoming resistance to de-innovation..” Health Affairs (Project Hope) 34, no. 2 (February 2015): 239–44.

Full Text

Ubel, Peter A., David A. Comerford, and Eric Johnson. “ 3.0--behavioral economics and insurance exchanges..” The New England Journal of Medicine 372, no. 8 (February 2015): 695–98.

Full Text

Blumenthal-Barby, Jennifer S., Amy L. McGuire, Robert C. Green, and Peter A. Ubel. “How behavioral economics can help to avoid 'The last mile problem' in whole genome sequencing..” Genome Medicine 7, no. 1 (January 22, 2015).

Full Text