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


Altomare, Ivy, Blair Irwin, Syed Yousuf Zafar, Kevin Houck, Bailey Maloney, Rachel Greenup, and Jeffrey Peppercorn. “Physician Experience and Attitudes Toward Addressing the Cost of Cancer Care.” J Oncol Pract 12, no. 3 (March 2016): e281-248.

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Roe, Matthew T., Derek D. Cyr, Debra Eckart, Phillip J. Schulte, Michael A. Morse, Kimberly L. Blackwell, Neal E. Ready, et al. “Ascertainment, classification, and impact of neoplasm detection during prolonged treatment with dual antiplatelet therapy with prasugrel vs. clopidogrel following acute coronary syndrome.” Eur Heart J 37, no. 4 (January 21, 2016): 412–22.

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Kircher, Sheetal M., Caitlin R. Meeker, Halla Nimeiri, Daniel M. Geynisman, S Yousuf Zafar, Veena Shankaran, Jonas de Souza, and Yu-Ning Wong. “The Parity Paradigm: Can Legislation Help Reduce the Cost Burden of Oral Anticancer Medications?” Value Health 19, no. 1 (January 2016): 88–98.

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Deming, Dustin, Nataliya Uboha, S Yousuf Zafar, Stephen Rosenberg, Michael Bassetti, Sean Glasgow, Ernest C. Borden, and Sam Lubner. “Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Stage II Rectal Cancer.” Semin Oncol 42, no. 6 (December 2015): e99-107.

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Zafar, S Yousuf, Fumiko Chino, Peter A. Ubel, Christel Rushing, Gregory Samsa, Ivy Altomare, Jonathan Nicolla, et al. “The utility of cost discussions between patients with cancer and oncologists.” Am J Manag Care 21, no. 9 (September 2015): 607–15.


Nipp, R. D., D. C. Currow, N. I. Cherny, F. Strasser, A. P. Abernethy, and S. Y. Zafar. “Best supportive care in clinical trials: review of the inconsistency in control arm design.” Br J Cancer 113, no. 1 (June 30, 2015): 6–11.

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Kutner, Jean S., Patrick J. Blatchford, Donald H. Taylor, Christine S. Ritchie, Janet H. Bull, Diane L. Fairclough, Laura C. Hanson, et al. “Safety and benefit of discontinuing statin therapy in the setting of advanced, life-limiting illness: a randomized clinical trial.” Jama Intern Med 175, no. 5 (May 2015): 691–700.

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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.

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