HomeHealth ServicesSpecialty CareMurtha Cancer CenterSurgical OncologyLtCol Peter Learn, MD

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LtCol Peter Learn, MD

Lieutenant Colonel, Medical Corps, US Air Force
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD

COL Craig D. Shriver, FACS


Complex operations on the liver, pancreas, and biliary tract, including the Whipple operation. Treatment of cancers and benign diseases involving the liver, pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder, stomach, and intestines. Surgical treatment of breast cancer including breast conservation, mastectomy, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. Cancers of the skin and soft tissues including sarcomas in the retroperitoneum, arms, legs, and trunk. Cancers and benign disorders of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

  • Bachelor of Science (1997), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, IL)
  • Doctor of Medicine (2001), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD)
  • General Surgery (2007), University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio – Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center (San Antonio, TX)
  • Surgical Oncology (2010), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY)
  • Surgery, American Board of Surgery (2007)

  • Surgical Oncology, Society of Surgical Oncology (2010)


Dr. Learn earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and commissioned as a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. He attended the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 2001. Dr. Learn then trained in General Surgery at the combined residency program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He completed advanced specialty training in Surgical Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

After completing his fellowship in 2010, Dr. Learn was assigned to San Antonio Military Medical Center, the recent result of the hospital merger of Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. During his time there, he served as the Associate and, subsequently, Interim Program Director for the General Surgery Residency at SAMMC. He also served as the Chief of Surgical Oncology and the Chair of the Cancer Care Committee responsible for maintaining accreditation as an Academic Comprehensive Cancer Care Center. In 2014, Dr. Learn was recruited to join the in-residence faculty of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and transferred his clinical practice to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Dr. Learn has deployed twice as a General Surgeon in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In 2008, he served with the 48th Combat Support Hospital at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Khost, Afghanistan. In 2011, he served as the Deputy Commander for Clinical Services for Task Force Med East and as a surgeon at Craig Joint Theater Hospital on Bagram Air Field. His military awards include the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal.

Research Interests
Clinical outcomes in complex cancer operations and implications for health policy; diagnosis and therapy of benign and malignant liver and pancreatic diseases.

Selected Publications

1.Learn PA, Grossman EB, Do RKG, Allen PJ, Brennan MF, D’Angelica MI, DeMatteo RP, Fong Y, Klimstra DS, Schattner MA, Jarnagin WR. Pitfalls in avoiding operation for autoimmune pancreatitis. Surgery 2011;150:968-974.


2.Learn PA, Bach PB. A decade of mortality reduction in major oncologic surgery: the impact of centralization and quality improvement. Medical Care 2010;48:1041-1049.


3. Smith DL, Elting LS, Learn PA, Raut CP, Mansfield PF. Factors influencing the volume-outcome relationship in gastrectomies: a population-based study. Annals of Surgical Oncology 2007:14:1846-1852.


4.Learn PA, Krishnegowda N, Talamantez J, Kahlenberg MS.  Compensatory increases in HER-2/neu activation in response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibition in colon cancer cell lines.  Journal of Surgical Research 2006;136:227-231.


5.Learn PA, Bowers SP, Watkins KT. Laparoscopic hepatic resection utilizing saline enhanced electrocautery permits short hospital stays. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2006;10:422-427.


6.Learn PA, Yeh IT, McNutt M, Chisholm GB, Pollock BH, Rousseau DL, Sharkey FE, Cruz AB, Kahlenberg MS. HER-2/neuexpression as a predictor of response to neoadjuvant docetaxel in operable breast cancer. Cancer 2005;103(11):2252-2260.

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