Syed Yousuf Zafar, MD

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine
Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
Core Faculty Member, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
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 gastrointestinal medical oncologist and Associate Professor of Medicine, Public Policy, and Population Health Science at the Duke Cancer Institute and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. He serves as Director of Healthcare Innovation at the Duke Cancer Institute. Dr. Zafar also serves as Clinical Associate Director of Duke Forge (Health Data Science Center). Dr. Zafar is considered an international expert in identifying and intervening upon the financial burden of cancer care. His research explores ways to improve cancer care delivery with a primary focus on improving the value of cancer treatment from both patient-focused and policy perspectives.

Dr. Zafar speaks internationally on his research and cancer care delivery. He has over 100 publications in top peer-reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and JAMA Oncology. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society, among others. His work has been covered by national media outlets including New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Washington Post. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

In Their Words

Education and Training

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


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hastert, Theresa A., Gregory S. Young, Michael L. Pennell, Tasleem Padamsee, S Yousuf Zafar, Cecilia DeGraffinreid, Michelle Naughton, Michael Simon, and Electra D. Paskett. “Financial burden among older, long-term cancer survivors: Results from the LILAC study.” Cancer Med 7, no. 9 (September 2018): 4261–72.

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Chino, Fumiko, Jeffrey M. Peppercorn, Christel Rushing, Jonathan Nicolla, Arif H. Kamal, Ivy Altomare, Greg Samsa, and S Yousuf Zafar. “Going for Broke: A Longitudinal Study of Patient-Reported Financial Sacrifice in Cancer Care.” J Oncol Pract 14, no. 9 (September 2018): e533–46.

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Leopold, Christine, Jeffrey M. Peppercorn, S Yousuf Zafar, and Anita K. Wagner. “Defining Value of Cancer Therapeutics-A Health System Perspective.” J Natl Cancer Inst 110, no. 7 (July 1, 2018): 699–703.

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