Heather Elizabeth Whitson, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in Ophthalmology
Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Aging and Human
Campus mail Dept Of Medicine, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 660-7514
Email address heather.whitson@duke.edu

Dr. Whitson's research is focused on improving care and health outcomes for people with multiple chronic conditions.  In particular, she has interest and expertise related to the link between changes in the eye and brain (e.g., Why do cognitive and brain changes occur in the context of late-life vision loss?  Is Alzheimer's Disease associated with distinctive changes in the retina, and could such changes help diagnose Alzheimer's early in its course?).  Dr. Whitson is also interested in improving care delivery systems and intervention programs to better serve medically complex patients.  Within the Duke Aging Center, she leads research efforts aimed at promoting resilience to late-life stressors (e.g., surgery, sensory loss).  She has developed a novel rehabilitation model for people with co-existing vision and cognitive deficits, and she is part of a inter-disciplinary team seeking to improve peri-operative outcomes for frail or at-risk seniors who must undergo surgery.

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Geriatrics, Medicine, Duke University, 2005 - 2006
  • Fellow in Geriatrics, Medicine, Duke University, 2003 - 2004
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, Duke University, 2000 - 2003
  • M.D., Cornell University, 2000

Publications

Whitson, HE, Cohen, HJ, Schmader, KE, Morey, MC, Kuchel, G, and Colon-Emeric, CS. "Physical Resilience: Not Simply the Opposite of Frailty." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (March 25, 2018).

PMID
29577234
Full Text

Zhuang, J, Madden, DJ, Duong-Fernandez, X, Chen, N-K, Cousins, SW, Potter, GG, Diaz, MT, and Whitson, HE. "Language processing in age-related macular degeneration associated with unique functional connectivity signatures in the right hemisphere." Neurobiology of aging 63 (March 2018): 65-74.

PMID
29223681
Full Text

McDonald, SR, Heflin, MT, Whitson, HE, Dalton, TO, Lidsky, ME, Liu, P, Poer, CM, Sloane, R, Thacker, JK, White, HK, Yanamadala, M, and Lagoo-Deenadayalan, SA. "Association of Integrated Care Coordination With Postsurgical Outcomes in High-Risk Older Adults: The Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) Initiative." JAMA surgery (January 3, 2018).

PMID
29299599
Full Text

Lad, EM, Mukherjee, D, Stinnett, SS, Cousins, SW, Potter, GG, Burke, JR, Farsiu, S, and Whitson, HE. "Evaluation of inner retinal layers as biomarkers in mild cognitive impairment to moderate Alzheimer's disease." PloS one 13, no. 2 (January 2018): e0192646-.

PMID
29420642
Full Text

Lin, FR, and Whitson, HE. "The Common Sense of Considering the Senses in Patient Communication." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 65, no. 8 (August 2017): 1659-1660.

PMID
28436020
Full Text

Tisminetzky, M, Bayliss, EA, Magaziner, JS, Allore, HG, Anzuoni, K, Boyd, CM, Gill, TM, Go, AS, Greenspan, SL, Hanson, LR, Hornbrook, MC, Kitzman, DW, Larson, EB, Naylor, MD, Shirley, BE, Tai-Seale, M, Teri, L, Tinetti, ME, Whitson, HE, and Gurwitz, JH. "Research Priorities to Advance the Health and Health Care of Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 65, no. 7 (July 2017): 1549-1553.

PMID
28555750
Full Text

Lekan, DA, Wallace, DC, McCoy, TP, Hu, J, Silva, SG, and Whitson, HE. "Frailty Assessment in Hospitalized Older Adults Using the Electronic Health Record." Biological research for nursing 19, no. 2 (March 2017): 213-228.

PMID
27913742
Full Text

Chou, Y-H, Sundman, M, Whitson, HE, Gaur, P, Chu, M-L, Weingarten, CP, Madden, DJ, Wang, L, Kirste, I, Joliot, M, Diaz, MT, Li, Y-J, Song, AW, and Chen, N-K. "Maintenance and Representation of Mind Wandering during Resting-State fMRI." Scientific reports 7 (January 12, 2017): 40722-.

PMID
28079189
Full Text

Whitson, HE, Duan-Porter, W, Schmader, K, Morey, M, Cohen, HJ, and Colón-Emeric, C. "Response to Letter From De Alfieri et al.: Biological Resilience of Elderly Hospitalized Patients." The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 72, no. 1 (January 2017): 142-. (Letter)

PMID
27811154
Full Text

Polans, J, Keller, B, Carrasco-Zevallos, OM, LaRocca, F, Cole, E, Whitson, HE, Lad, EM, Farsiu, S, and Izatt, JA. "Wide-field retinal optical coherence tomography with wavefront sensorless adaptive optics for enhanced imaging of targeted regions." Biomedical optics express 8, no. 1 (January 2017): 16-37.

PMID
28101398
Full Text

Pages