Heather Elizabeth Whitson, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in Ophthalmology
Deputy Director of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development
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 options and resilience 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 health services to better meet the needs of 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, infection).  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.  As a co-leader of a national resilience collaborative, she seeks to better understand the biological and psychological factors that determine how well we "bounce back" after health stressors.

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.H.S., Duke University, 2009
  • M.D., Cornell University, 2000

Publications

Hreha, Kimberly P., Steve R. Fisher, Timothy A. Reistetter, Kenneth Ottenbacher, Allen Haas, Chih-Ying Li, Joshua R. Ehrlich, Diane B. Whitaker, and Heather E. Whitson. “Use of the ICD-10 vision codes to study ocular conditions in Medicare beneficiaries with stroke.” Bmc Health Serv Res 20, no. 1 (July 8, 2020): 628. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05484-z.

PMID
32641050
Full Text

Nobuhara, Chloe K., W Michael Bullock, Thomas Bunning, Brian Colin, Mary Cooter, Michael J. Devinney, Michael N. Ferrandino, et al. “A protocol to reduce self-reported pain scores and adverse events following lumbar punctures in older adults.” J Neurol 267, no. 7 (July 2020): 2002–6. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-09797-1.

PMID
32198714
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Sandra Woolson, Maren Olsen, Robert Massof, Stephanie M. Ferguson, Kelly W. Muir, John A. Dziadul, Eleanor McConnell, and Joan A. Stelmack. “Cognitive Impairment among Veterans in Outpatient Vision Rehabilitation.” Optom Vis Sci 97, no. 6 (June 2020): 462–69. https://doi.org/10.1097/OPX.0000000000001522.

PMID
32511169
Full Text

Parker, Daniel C., Cathleen Colόn-Emeric, Janet L. Huebner, Ching-Heng Chou, Virginia Byers Kraus, Carl F. Pieper, Richard Sloane, et al. “Biomarkers Associated with Physical Resilience After Hip Fracture.” J Gerontol a Biol Sci Med Sci, May 9, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa119.

PMID
32386291
Full Text

Colón-Emeric, Cathleen, Carl F. Pieper, Kenneth E. Schmader, Richard Sloane, Allison Bloom, Micah McClain, Jay Magaziner, et al. “Two Approaches to Classifying and Quantifying Physical Resilience in Longitudinal Data.” J Gerontol a Biol Sci Med Sci 75, no. 4 (March 9, 2020): 731–38. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glz097.

PMID
30993327
Full Text

Colón-Emeric, Cathleen, Heather E. Whitson, Sarah D. Berry, Roger A. Fielding, Denise K. Houston, Douglas P. Kiel, Clifford J. Rosen, et al. “AGS and NIA Bench-to Bedside Conference Summary: Osteoporosis and Soft Tissue (Muscle and Fat) Disorders.” J Am Geriatr Soc 68, no. 1 (January 2020): 31–38. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16248.

PMID
31791114
Full Text

Schwaber, Eric J., Atalie C. Thompson, Gordon Smilnak, Sandra S. Stinnett, Heather E. Whitson, and Eleonora M. Lad. “Co-Prevalence of Alzheimer's Disease and Age-Related Macular Degeneration Established by Histopathologic Diagnosis.” J Alzheimers Dis 76, no. 1 (2020): 207–15. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200111.

PMID
32444545
Full Text

Cohen, Seth M., Deborah Lekan, Thomas Risoli, Hui-Jie Lee, Stephanie Misono, Heather E. Whitson, and Sudha Raman. “Association Between Dysphagia and Inpatient Outcomes Across Frailty Level Among Patients ≥ 50 Years of Age.” Dysphagia, December 7, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00455-019-10084-z.

PMID
31811381
Full Text

Colón-Emeric, Cathleen, Heather E. Whitson, Carl F. Pieper, Richard Sloane, Denise Orwig, Kim M. Huffman, Janet Prvu Bettger, et al. “Resiliency Groups Following Hip Fracture in Older Adults.” J Am Geriatr Soc 67, no. 12 (December 2019): 2519–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16152.

PMID
31469411
Full Text

Gijzel, Sanne M. W., Heather E. Whitson, Ingrid A. van de Leemput, Marten Scheffer, Dieneke van Asselt, Jerrald L. Rector, Marcel G. M. Olde Rikkert, and René J. F. Melis. “Resilience in Clinical Care: Getting a Grip on the Recovery Potential of Older Adults.” J Am Geriatr Soc 67, no. 12 (December 2019): 2650–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16149.

PMID
31498881
Full Text

Pages