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Dan G. Blazer III (Trey), MD, FACS

Associate Professor of Surgery
Program Director, Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) Fellowship 

What is your specific area of interest in health services?
I am a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist and have been on the faculty at Duke since 2008. My clinical research has focused primarily on utilizing institutional and national databases (including the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) and the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB)) to better understand the utilization and impact of multi-modality approaches to gastrointestinal malignancies and soft tissue sarcoma. In addition, I am the principal investigator for several industry-sponsored clinical trials and am committed to growing the clinical trial efforts in the HPB Section in the Division of Advanced Oncologic and GI Surgery at Duke University.

What is an example of your best work in health services research?
One of the most important questions that I have investigated is the utilization and impact on an institutional and national level of perioperative radiation therapy in the surgical management of retroperitoneal sarcoma. Our group has several publications addressing this topic, including one in review:

These publications have highlighted the increasing use of perioperative radiation therapy in the surgical management of retroperitoneal sarcoma and the lack of understanding of its impact on patient outcomes. In addition, however, we have demonstrated an association between perioperative radiation therapy and improved survival, while highlighting the challenges facing a major, ongoing phase III trial in Europe to more definitively answer this important clinical question. 

In your opinion, what is an important health services research question that needs to be answered in the field of surgical oncology? 
The utilization of large, national databases is critically important to study uncommon malignancies such as soft tissue sarcoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and peritoneal surface malignancies. Critically important to the future of this field will be for these large databases to better capture other important patient outcomes, such as tumor recurrence. As these databases mature, the ability to address difficult oncologic questions will grow similarly. 
Fun fact about Dr. Blazer! 

Outside the hospital, spending time with my family is my most important and time consuming activity. My wife is an assistant swim coach at UNC. We have two young children, currently 21 months and 4 years old. Balancing our jobs and life at home is challenging but rewarding. 
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