Elizabeth Harden and Richard Hoefer

Long-Term Partners


After more than 30 years as a medical oncologist in her thriving practice in Newport News, Virginia, 1978 Duke University School of Medicine graduate Elizabeth Harden, MD, sees cancer turning into more of a chronic disease. “I used to have a short relationship with patients. Now I have patients who I’ve been seeing for 15 or 20 years who are doing great,” she said.

Harden’s husband, surgical oncologist Richard Hoefer, DO, FACS, added, “If we can’t cure it, we can contain it.”

Harden sees her mentors and friends at Duke as partners in that success. “Duke has been complimentary to us in our life’s work. We recognize the value of having a very strong academic medicine community as a resource,” she said.

As Harden and Hoefer celebrated 35 years of marriage, and as Duke Cancer Institute marks 50 years as a comprehensive cancer center, the couple established an estate bequest to benefit future physicians and researchers. They worked closely with Duke Health’s gift planning office and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and School of Medicine Dean Mary Klotman, MD, to create a gift that will benefit cancer, immunology, and graduate medical education. Their bequest includes endowments for a full professorship and two associate professorships.

“We don’t know what the next big frontier is in oncology, so we didn’t want to narrow it to one area,” Harden said. “We take great pride in knowing our estate will be used in this way.”

Learn More About Giving

To learn more about planned giving to Duke Cancer Institute, please contact Executive Director of Development Michelle Cohen at 919-385-3124, or michelle.cohen@duke.edu.

This page was reviewed on 10/16/2023