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J. Franklin Wharam

Professor of Medicine
Medicine, General Internal Medicine
710 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27710
Dept of Med, Durham, NC 27710


Dr. Frank Wharam is a general internist and health policy researcher. He studies the impact of national and state policies on the health of large populations, chronically ill patients, and vulnerable subgroups. His research often examines effects of health insurance benefit designs such as value-based, consumer-directed (CDHPs), and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). He has led many large-scale studies in these areas, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Patient-centered Outcomes Research Institute. Dr. Wharam is a leading scholar in research about HDHPs and cost sharing. He also focuses on interventions that affect people with diabetes, substance use disorders, cancer, obesity, mental illness, and respiratory diseases. He has expertise in rigorous quasi-experiment research designs, causal inference in observational data, and large claims data analyses. His work has been published in journals such as Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Health Affairs. He is the national co-chair of the Natural Experiments in Diabetes Translation (NEXT-D3) research collaborative.

Dr. Wharam is Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and a core faculty member in the Margolis Center. He directs a new center devoted to analyzing large-scale health policy effects in order to inform a more efficient and equitable health care system. He also cares for patients at the Duke Outpatient Clinic. 

Dr. Wharam joined Duke after 17 years at the Harvard Medical School Department of Population Medicine. There he held the Martin Robison Delany endowed chair and was Director of the Division of Health Policy and Insurance Research. Before Harvard, he completed Internal Medicine residency at Duke in 2004. 

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of Medicine · 2022 - Present Medicine, General Internal Medicine, Medicine
Core Faculty Member, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy · 2021 - Present Duke-Margolis Institute for Health Policy, Initiatives
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute · 2022 - Present Duke Cancer Institute, Institutes and Centers