For Fisher, research and clinical work is all about colon care

Monday, March 28, 2016

Deborah Fisher, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine (Gastroenterology) and member of the Duke Cancer Institute, recently joined Duke Clinical Research Institute's GI research group as associate director of gastroenterology research.

"As an academic gastroenterologist I wear many hats," says Dr. Fisher. "I care for patients in GI clinic and perform GI procedures. I am passionate about applying research results to improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness of medical care." Dr. Fisher has been with Duke and the Durham VA since 1999, and on faculty since 2002.

Mentoring is a high priority for Fisher. She teaches clinical gastroenterology and endoscopy to residents and fellows, and co-directs the Department of Medicine MENTORS program for clinical research fellows. Fisher's research concentrates on outcomes and health services research in gastroenterology with a focus on colorectal cancer prevention, detection, and surveillance. She is also the director of social and digital media for the GI division.

Fisher has served on several national committees, chairing the National VA Gastroenterology Field Advisory Committee, and belonging to various guideline committees and research committees. She currently serves on the American Gastroenterological Association Publications Committee. Fisher has a BS in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University, an MD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and an MHS in Clinical Research from Duke. 

As part of the DCRI's program of events to mark Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, Fisher has participated in several community events. Dress in Blue Day was marked with enthusiasm by Duke GI on March 4, and on March 5, the Duke GI team, Butts and Guts – including Fisher – took part in 'Get Your Rear in Gear' - Raleigh.  This 5K Run/Walk and Kids' Fun Run was sponsored by Duke GI, and raised more than $56,000 for colon cancer awareness efforts in the Raleigh area through the Colon Cancer Coalition.

Fisher also participated in the 3rd Annual CRUSH Colorectal Cancer 5K Run/Walk in Durham on March 19. This was hosted by the Duke Multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Cancers Program, in honor and celebration of those whose lives have been touched by colorectal cancer. The Duke IBD team, No Guts, No Glory, plans to take part in an event titled Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis, scheduled for April 30 in Morrisville.

In another event timed to mark Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, on March 22 at 1 p.m., Fisher was the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) expert for a Colorectal Cancer Awareness Twitter Chat co-sponsored by Everyday Health (#Healthtalk). Her Twitter handle is @drdeborahfisher and the new Duke GI twitter account is @Duke_GI_   

On March 15, Fisher gave a presentation on 'Overuse and Underuse of Colonoscopy for Colorectal cancer screening and surveillance' at the DCRI noon research conference. Including information from a recent paper in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the presentation highlighted the need for system-level improvements to facilitate the appropriate delivery of colonoscopy that is based on individual risk. This would help address the current situation where some low-risk individuals are having colonoscopies more frequently than recommended by guidelines, while certain high-risk patients may not have the procedure often enough.

Among the conclusions of the presentation were that better tracking of patients and decision support for physicians could optimize adherence to guidelines, leading to better use of finite healthcare dollars.

This story was featured on the DCRI intranet. Read it here.