Syed Yousuf Zafar, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences
Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
Core Faculty Member, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute
Campus mail Duke Box 3505, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-8111
Email address

Dr. Zafar is a health services researcher with a focus in improving care delivery for patients with advanced cancer. He has obtained advanced training in health services research and has participated in single-institution, multi-institution and national studies focusing on access to care, cost of care, and comparative effectiveness of care delivery between health systems. His primary area of interest is in the cost of cancer care. He has conducted institutional and national studies on how treatment-related costs impact cancer patients' experience. His current work in this arena is focused on patient preferences regarding cost-related communication and decision-making.

A second field of interest is palliative care. Dr. Zafar has collaborated with national and international palliative care leaders to improve the design and delivery of palliative care in cancer clinical trials. Methodologically, this work has centered around systematic literature reviews, iterative surveys, and prospective clinical trials.

Dr. Zafar is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Health Disparities and Clinical Practice Guideline Committees. He is a member of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology's Health Disparities and Health Outcomes Committees. Dr. Zafar's work has been funded by the American Cancer Society, the HealthWell Foundation, the Duke Cancer Prevention and Control Program, the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and the CALGB Foundation.

In Their Words

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Hematology-Oncology, Medicine, Duke University, 2005 - 2008
  • Resident, Medicine, University of Cincinnati, 2002 - 2005
  • M.D., University of Toledo, 2002


Tran, George, Matthew Harker, Karen Chiswell, Joseph M. Unger, Mark E. Fleury, Bradford Hirsch, Kimberly Miller, Philip d’Almada, Sheri Tibbs, and S Yousuf Zafar. “Feasibility of Cancer Clinical Trial Enrollment Goals Based on Cancer Incidence.” Jco Clin Cancer Inform 4 (January 2020): 35–49.

Full Text

Strickler, John H., Christel N. Rushing, Donna Niedzwiecki, Abigail McLeod, Ivy Altomare, Hope E. Uronis, S David Hsu, et al. “A phase Ib study of capecitabine and ziv-aflibercept followed by a phase II single-arm expansion cohort in chemotherapy refractory metastatic colorectal cancer.” Bmc Cancer 19, no. 1 (November 1, 2019): 1032.

Full Text

Greenup, Rachel A., Christel N. Rushing, Laura J. Fish, Whitney O. Lane, Jeffrey M. Peppercorn, Emily Bellavance, Lisa Tolnitch, et al. “Perspectives on the Costs of Cancer Care: A Survey of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.” In Ann Surg Oncol, 26:3141–51, 2019.

Full Text

Clarke, Jeffrey Melson, Gerard C. Blobe, John H. Strickler, Hope Elizabeth Uronis, S Yousuf Zafar, Michael Morse, Evan Dropkin, et al. “A phase Ib study of the combination regorafenib with PF-03446962 in patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer (REGAL-1 trial).” Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 84, no. 4 (October 2019): 909–17.

Full Text

Greenup, Rachel A., Christel Rushing, Laura Fish, Brittany M. Campbell, Lisa Tolnitch, Terry Hyslop, Jeffrey Peppercorn, et al. “Financial Costs and Burden Related to Decisions for Breast Cancer Surgery.” J Oncol Pract 15, no. 8 (August 2019): e666–76.

Full Text

Zullig, Leah L., Katherine Ramos, Callie Berkowitz, Julie J. Miller, Rowena J. Dolor, Bridget F. Koontz, S. Yousuf Zafar, D. Hutch Allen, Jennifer A. Tenhover, and Hayden B. Bosworth. “Assessing Key Stakeholders' Knowledge, Needs, and Preferences for Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Plans.” J Cancer Educ 34, no. 3 (June 2019): 584–91.

Full Text

Chino, Fumiko, Arif H. Kamal, Thomas W. Leblanc, S Yousuf Zafar, Gita Suneja, and Junzo P. Chino. “Place of death for patients with cancer in the United States, 1999 through 2015: Racial, age, and geographic disparities.” Cancer 124, no. 22 (November 15, 2018): 4408–19.

Full Text