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Yousuf Zafar, MD: Comforted by Community

Dr. Yousuf Zafar is in awe of the folks who are showing up throughout this crisis: his colleagues, his neighbors, and each and every Durhamite determined to conquer COVID-19 ... together.

In this challenging time for our community, where have you seen beauty?

"This is not an easy time for anyone. Despite the challenge of social distancing, I’ve seen our community come together in so many ways to support each other. We wait patiently in line outside grocery stores. I see local restaurants donating meals to those facing food insecurity. I read emails about neighbors offering services to the elderly. I have talked to local small business owners who, despite their own uncertain financial futures, are doing everything they can to support their employees.

I work at the Duke Cancer Center and am so proud to work with colleagues who put aside fears of infection to come to work every day. And I’m not just talking about the healthcare providers like nurses, doctors, and medical assistants — our healthcare infrastructure would fall apart without the check-in staff, environmental services workers, food service providers, and so many more. Our patients depend on each and every one of us to put on a mask and come to work in the morning."

Yousuf Zafar

What makes Durham beautiful to you?

"My wife and I came to Duke for our medical training in 2005, expecting to be here for just three short years. Fifteen years later, we are proud to still be a part of this wonderful city!

Without a doubt, what I love most about Durham is the people. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have a diverse set of opinions. Yet, we are so accepting and welcoming of each other. As a first-generation immigrant to the U.S., I always notice the many yards signs in Durham proclaiming in multiple languages: 'No matter where you are from, we are glad you’re our neighbor.' Though I might never have met the owner of the sign, I imagine they put it up just for me. That’s what makes Durham beautiful."

Yousuf Zafar, MD is a gastrointestinal medical oncologist and healthcare delivery researcher. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Policy at the Duke Cancer Institute and Sanford School of Public Policy, and serves as Director of the Center for Applied Cancer Health Policy at the Duke Cancer Institute. He and his colleagues are working to care for afflicted patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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