Heather Elizabeth Whitson, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in Ophthalmology
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 age-related changes in the eye and brain (e.g., How does late-life vision loss impact the aging brain or cognitive outcomes?  Is Alzheimer's disease associated with distinctive changes in the retina, and could such changes help diagnose Alzheimer's disease early in its course?).  Dr. Whitson leads a collaborative Alzheimer's Disease initiative that brings together investigators from Duke University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, with a bold vision to transform dementia research and care across Eastern North Carolina. 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

Whitson, H. E., C. E. Pieper, T. Ostbye, L. Sanders, D. T. Gold, and K. W. Lyles. “Affective mental health and the risk of fracture in the Canadian study of health-and aging.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55:S144–S144. BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, 2007.

Scholars@Duke

Hastings, S Nicole, Heather E. Whitson, Heidi K. White, Richard Sloane, Heather MacDonald, Deborah A. Lekan-Rutledge, and Eleanor S. McConnell. “Development and implementation of the TrAC (Tracking After-hours Calls) database: a tool to collect longitudinal data on after-hours telephone calls in long-term care.” J Am Med Dir Assoc 8, no. 3 (March 2007): 178–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2006.11.003.

PMID
17349947
Full Text

Richards, J Brent, Alexandra Papaioannou, Jonathan D. Adachi, Lawrence Joseph, Heather E. Whitson, Jerilynn C. Prior, David Goltzman, and David Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study Research Group. “Effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture.” Arch Intern Med 167, no. 2 (January 22, 2007): 188–94. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.167.2.188.

PMID
17242321
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Bruce Lobaugh, and Kenneth W. Lyles. “Severe hypocalcemia following bisphosphonate treatment in a patient with Paget's disease of bone.” Bone 39, no. 4 (October 2006): 954–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2006.04.032.

PMID
16769264
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., S Nicole Hastings, Eleanor S. McConnell, and Deborah A. Lekan-Rutledge. “Inter-disciplinary focus groups on telephone medicine: a quality improvement initiative.” J Am Med Dir Assoc 7, no. 7 (September 2006): 407–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2006.01.023.

PMID
16979082
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Carl F. Pieper, Linda Sanders, Ronnie D. Horner, Pamela W. Duncan, and Kenneth W. Lyles. “Adding injury to insult: fracture risk after stroke in veterans.” J Am Geriatr Soc 54, no. 7 (July 2006): 1082–88. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2006.00769.x.

PMID
16866679
Full Text

Shinoff, C. W., S. Sidney, O. Johnell, S. C. Johnston, T. P. van Staa, C. Cooper, H. E. Whitson, K. W. Lyles, and S. R. Cummings. “Rates of fracture after stroke in international population-based cohorts.” In Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 20:S88–S88. AMER SOC BONE & MINERAL RES, 2005.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, H., C. Pieper, R. Horner, L. Sanders, and K. W. Lyles. “Fracture risk after stroke in an American cohort.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53:S191–S191. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2005.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, H., S. N. Hastings, E. McConnell, and D. Lekan-Rutledge. “Quality improvement in longterm care telephone medicine.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53:S49–S49. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2005.

Scholars@Duke

Pages