Remembering Dr. Phuong Doan

The following message was sent to members of the Department of Medicine from Dr. Kathleen Cooney, MD, MACP, chair of the Department of Medicine, and Nelson Chao, MD, MBA, chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies & Cellular Therapy. 

It is with a heavy heart we share the news of the passing of Phuong Doan, MD, associate professor, Division of Hematologic Malignancies & Cellular Therapy, on November 26, 2023.

Having arrived in this country from Vietnam at nearly four years old, Dr. Doan’s journey to Duke and becoming a physician scientist was steep and impressive. She joined the Duke family in 2007 as a fellow in Hematology-Oncology. She continued her trajectory, joining the Duke Department of Medicine team as a medical instructor in 2010 after completing her fellowship. Dr. Doan was appointed to assistant professor of medicine in 2013 and then promoted to associate professor in 2020. She also served as a member of the Duke Cancer Institute and an affiliate of the Duke Regeneration Center.

An impactful physician-scientist and esteemed colleague, Dr. Doan was an expert in hematopoietic regeneration and endothelial cells, publishing high-profile papers and achieving NIH funding. Her colleagues remember her for her unabashed optimism. They noted that she always tackled challenges in science, medicine, and the Division with unbridled enthusiasm.  

As the principal investigator, Dr. Doan and her team focused on the identification of novel hematopoietic growth factors; endothelial microvesicles; EGFR and EGFR-2 signaling in hematologic malignancies; hematopoietic acute radiation syndrome; and transgenic and mutant murine models in cancer and myelosuppression.

She not only made a difference with her colleagues but she was cherished by her patients as well. Dr. Doan was seen as an extraordinary mixture of tenacity and compassion. Her compassion extended to caring for patients and their families into the late evening hours.

Dr. Doan received both the Duke School of Medicine Duke Physician-Scientist Strong Start Award and the Duke School of Medicine and School of Engineering MEDx Biomedical Research Award, which is given to researchers with novel pilot projects that investigate a basic biomedical discovery.

Dr. Doan’s presence will be missed across Duke. We know that such a profound loss can affect each person differently, so we encourage you to take advantage of the resources provided by Duke to support you during this time of grief. Duke offers the Personal Assistance Service (PAS) for faculty, trainees, and staff. Students are encouraged to contact the Duke Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for assistance.

Mitchell Funeral Home, 7209 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina 27612 will handle arrangements for the family of Dr. Doan. Please keep Dr. Doan's parents, brother, nieces, and many friends and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers.