Our institutional culture is built upon our history and values.  Our shared values—respect, trust, inclusion, discovery and excellence—are more than aspirations.  They are the beliefs and behaviors that we expect of ourselves and our colleagues.  These are the ideals that we must uphold in order to earn and maintain our reputation for quality and integrity, and to inspire confidence with each other, and the world which we both serve and rely on for our future viability.  Our values dictate our conduct and drive our culture.


We are a community of leaders, students, scholars, health care providers and staff who affirm and encourage open expression, academic freedom, regard for others and respect for laws and regulations.


We are honest, credible and reliable in our words, behaviors and actions.


We seek to welcome and fully engage people of diverse backgrounds, abilities and perspectives to advance our work.


We seek to be an innovative community, to improve our individual capabilities and to share knowledge with one another.


We perform high quality education, research, patient care and community enhancement, and are always mindful of the enduring value of safety and continuous improvement.

Putting these values into practice requires that we accept our responsibilities to one another—to think and act in ways that are ethical, legal and just, and that demonstrate courage, compassion, service, accountability and commitment in all we do on behalf of Duke. 

3 photos of students on campus, President Price and community group, and a staff meeting at standing walking desks.

Living Our Values and Culture

As stewards of Duke’s trust, we are accountable.  We collaborate and work together toward common goals through competence in our activities, responsibility for our actions and accountability to one another.  This means we follow laws and regulations and exercise sound judgment in the performance of our studies, our professional responsibilities, our obligation to the public, and our interactions with others. 

  • We avoid activities, pursuits or financial interests that are not compatible, in reality or perception, with our responsibilities. 
  • We seek advice when expectations are not clear or when we question what is “right.”
  • We are committed to the principles of diversity, inclusion, fairness, and respect for all people, though we may have differences in beliefs, appearances, backgrounds, experiences and abilities.
  • We demonstrate and practice genuine concern for the needs of others.
  • We improve our knowledge, work and community by conscientiously applying our time and talents.
  • We keep information confidential and use it only with permission and for its intended purposes.
  • We take responsibility and accept consequences for our words, behaviors and actions, and we commit to promptly correct errors, mistakes or omissions. 

As leaders, we represent Duke and acknowledge that we are held to the highest standard. 

  • We are vigilant in our intentions, leading by example and considering the implications of our actions.
  • We encourage questions and challenges, holding individuals and organizations accountable for their actions and decisions.
  • We do not use our positions of influence or authority to secure personal advantage or gain.

At Duke, accepting responsibility for what we value means that together we build and reinforce the culture that is our cornerstone.  We do the right thing, even under difficult circumstances.  We do not justify disregard for these principles and expectations on the basis of expediency or achieving short-term objectives that are viewed as more important than our values. Together, we are committed to our ethical principles, to ourselves, one another, our community, and our patients.

3 photos of an engineering lab, an aerial shot of Duke Hospital and buildings near, and a picture of doctors with a patient

Speak Up

We speak up when words, behaviors or actions are not consistent with our values. 

If you witness or are asked to participate in actions that are not consistent with our values, tell someone.  Ask your supervisor, department head, academic dean, residence advisor or ombudsman for advice. If that is not possible, contact 800.826.8109 to discuss your question or report your concern.  The toll-free number is a confidential, and anonymous if you choose, service provided 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

It takes courage to come forward.  Retaliation for reporting concerns in good faith is strictly prohibited

Duke commits to conducting a fair and expeditious inquiry and to use any information to correct errors, make improvements, and ensure accountability. To the extent possible, we protect confidentiality of individuals and information related to investigations. Should illegal activity be suspected or confirmed, the university has a duty to report those facts to the appropriate authorities.