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
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


Peppercorn, J, Zafar, SY, Houck, K, Ubel, P, and Meropol, NJ. "Does comparative effectiveness research promote rationing of cancer care?." The Lancet Oncology 15, no. 3 (March 1, 2014). (Review)

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van Ryn, M, Phelan, SM, Arora, NK, Haggstrom, DA, Jackson, GL, Zafar, SY, Griffin, JM, Zullig, LL, Provenzale, D, Yeazel, MW, Jindal, RM, and Clauser, SB. "Patient-reported quality of supportive care among patients with colorectal cancer in the Veterans Affairs Health Care System." Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 32, no. 8 (March 2014): 809-815.

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Peppercorn, J, Zafar, SY, Houck, K, Ubel, P, and Meropol, NJ. "Does comparative effectiveness research promote rationing of cancer care?." The Lancet. Oncology 15, no. 3 (March 2014): e132-e138.

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Peppercorn, J, Zafar, SY, Houck, K, Ubel, P, and Meropol, NJ. "Does comparative effectiveness research promote rationing of cancer care?." The Lancet Oncology 15, no. 3 (March 2014): e132-e138.

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Bartley, AN, Hamilton, SR, Alsabeh, R, Ambinder, EP, Berman, M, Collins, E, Fitzgibbons, PL, Gress, DM, Nowak, JA, Samowitz, WS, Zafar, SY, Members of the Cancer Biomarker Reporting Workgroup, and College of American Pathologists, . "Template for reporting results of biomarker testing of specimens from patients with carcinoma of the colon and rectum." Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 138, no. 2 (February 2014): 166-170.

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Hirsch, BR, and Yousuf Zafar, S. "Comparative effectiveness research: Moving medical oncology forward." Seminars in Radiation Oncology 24, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 49-53.

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Strickler, JH, McCall, S, Nixon, AB, Brady, JC, Pang, H, Rushing, C, Cohn, A, Starodub, A, Arrowood, C, Haley, S, Meadows, KL, Morse, MA, Uronis, HE, Blobe, GC, Hsu, SD, Zafar, SY, and Hurwitz, HI. "Phase i study of dasatinib in combination with capecitabine, oxaliplatin and bevacizumab followed by an expanded cohort in previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer." Investigational New Drugs 32, no. 2 (January 1, 2014): 330-339.

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Yousuf Zafar, S, Tulsky, JA, and Abernethy, AP. "It's time to have 'The talk': Cost communication and patient-centered care." ONCOLOGY (United States) 28, no. 6 (January 1, 2014): 13-.


Rangwala, F, Bendell, JC, Kozloff, MF, Arrowood, CC, Dellinger, A, Meadows, J, Tourt-Uhlig, S, Murphy, J, Meadows, KL, Starr, A, Broderick, S, Brady, JC, Cushman, SM, Morse, MA, Uronis, HE, Hsu, SD, Zafar, SY, Wallace, J, Starodub, AN, Strickler, JH, Pang, H, Nixon, AB, and Hurwitz, HI. "Phase I study of capecitabine, oxaliplatin, bevacizumab, and everolimus in advanced solid tumors." Investigational New Drugs 32, no. 4 (January 1, 2014): 700-709.

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De Boer, C, Niyonzima, N, Orem, J, Bartlett, J, and Zafar, SY. "Prognosis and delay of diagnosis among Kaposi's sarcoma patients in Uganda: a cross-sectional study." Infectious agents and cancer 9 (January 2014): 17-.

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