Barbara Phillips-Bute, J.D., Ph.D. Set to Retire at End of Year

“I feel privileged to have worked with colleagues of this caliber for so many years.  I have been impressed with the department’s sincere commitment to the highest quality patient care, and to the highest quality outcomes research.  My time here in the Department of Anesthesiology has been very productive, and I have my wonderful colleagues to thank for that.” – Barbara Phillips-Bute, J.D., Ph.D.

We would like to wish a fond farewell to Barbara Phillips-Bute, J.D., Ph.D., who will be retiring from our Duke family at the end of this year.

Time at Duke

Dr. Phillips-Bute received her Ph.D. from Duke in 1988 in Experimental Psychology, and began working as a Research Associate in the Department of Psychiatry in 1991. Over the next five years, she worked in various departments throughout Duke, and in 1996, we welcomed her into the Department of Anesthesiology.

In 2001, Dr. Phillips-Bute became an Assistant Research Professor, and since that time, has been working in both Biostatistics and Outcomes research in the department as well as in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research in the department has focused on outcomes after cardiothoracic surgery and she has been involved in many peer-reviewed publications with Drs. Newman, Reves, Mathew, Welsby, Swaminathan, and Stafford-Smith.

In addition to her research, Dr. Phillips-Bute has held many honors, including the Teaching Fellowship Grant and the Research Fellowship Grant from the Department of Psychology at Duke.

“Barbara has been a phenomenal colleague and contributor to our departmental success. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” says Dr. Newman

What’s Next?

Now that Dr. Phillips-Bute is retired from the medical field, her next venture will be into the legal world.  While working at Duke, she attended the evening program at North Carolina Central University School of Law, and earned her J.D., along with a certificate in alternative dispute resolution.  She took (and passed!) the NC bar exam this summer, and has joined a practice group that focuses on collaborative law.

Dr. Phillips-Bute and her new colleagues are committed to helping people resolve disputes outside the courtroom. In the arena of family law, this approach allows people to resolve issues related to divorce and custody in a respectful and cooperative manner, and in many cases, much faster and with better results than they could achieve through litigation.

She will also be a participating attorney in an innovative new program designed to help patients who have experienced adverse medical outcomes resolve their cases without resorting to litigation.  Research shows that often a patient who has experienced a problem during their medical treatment really wants acknowledgement, and an explanation of what happened, not a courtroom battle.  For both doctors and patients, the courtroom is a poor place to work out these kinds of issues.

Reflecting on her time at Duke, Dr. Phillips-Bute says, “I’m excited to be moving on, and also sad to be leaving Duke.  Duke’s been good to me and I will welcome the opportunity to stay in touch with my long-time friends and associates.”

Please feel free to check out her new website at:

Chris KeithBarbara Phillips-Bute, J.D., Ph.D. Set to Retire at End of Year