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Deborah Fisher, MD, MHSc

A 2002 CRTP graduate, Deborah Fisher is an Associate Professor of Medicine and serves as Associate Director for Gastroenterology Research at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI). Her research focus is colorectal cancer prevention, detection, and surveillance.

“The CRTP program has been instrumental to my career in research. Prior to coming to Duke for a research track fellowship in GI (in 1999), all my research experience had been in basic science. After undergraduate and medical school lab experiences I realized that, while I liked research, bench work was not a good fit for me. I came to Duke as a leap of faith that clinical research would be a better fit. The classes of CRTP provided a foundation in study design and statistics that I could then apply to my mentored research projects. Without the didactics I would not have been able to effectively ‘get my hands dirty’ analyzing data or creating a study protocol. In turn, my mentored projects, including my master’s thesis project, reinforced and applied the didactic lessons in ways that made them truly stick. The CRTP program helped me realize that clinical research was my passion. I also began learning to work in groups – an important lesson because science is a team sport - and began networking with my peers in research and more senior faculty. Finally, I know that my early success attaining career development awards (from the American College of Gastroenterology and VA HSRD) was facilitated by the CRTP program because I was able to design and write a better grant application and the MHS degree served as a marker of my commitment to research and ability to carry out the research I proposed.”

Dr. Fisher’s research, advocacy, and clinical work serve to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of medical care and in particular colorectal cancer screening and surveillance programs. Her current educational work includes clinical teaching in medicine, clinical gastroenterology and endoscopy, directing the Department of Medicine MENTORS program for clinical research fellows and research mentoring individual fellows and residents. CRTP is fortunate to have her serve as a member of several CRTP Masters degree committees and to mentor the upcoming generation of clinical researchers. She is faculty for the GI Division T32 training grant and of the Duke Clinical Research Training Program. She has served on national committees including chairing the National VA GI Field Advisory Committee and is currently a member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Quality in Endoscopy committee.