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

Publications

Whitson, Heather E., Wei Duan-Porter, Kenneth Schmader, Miriam Morey, Harvey J. Cohen, and Cathleen Colón-Emeric. “Response to Ukraintseva et al. Letter: Resilience Versus Robustness in Aging..” J Gerontol a Biol Sci Med Sci 71, no. 11 (November 2016): 1535–36. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glw137.

PMID
27445404
Full Text

Whitson, Heather, Sina Farsiu, Sandra S. Stinnett, Leon Kwark, Guy Potter, James Burke, Scott W. Cousins, and Eleonora M. Lad. “Retinal Biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease.” In Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Vol. 57. ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2016.

Scholars@Duke

Polans, James, Francesco LaRocca, Oscar Carrasco-Zevallos, Brenton Keller, Eleonora M. Lad, Heather Whitson, Anthony N. Kuo, Sina Farsiu, and Joseph A. Izatt. “Wide-Field Sensorless Adaptive Optics Optical Coherence Tomography for Enhanced Visualization of the Retinal Periphery.” In Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Vol. 57. ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2016.

Scholars@Duke

Annweiler, C., D. Milea, H. E. Whitson, C. -. Y. Cheng, T. -. Y. Wong, M. K. Ikram, E. L. Lamoureux, and C. Sabanayagam. “Vitamin D insufficiency and cognitive impairment in Asians: a multi-ethnic population-based study and meta-analysis..” J Intern Med 280, no. 3 (September 2016): 300–311. https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.12491.

PMID
27037788
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Kimberly S. Johnson, Richard Sloane, Christine T. Cigolle, Carl F. Pieper, Lawrence Landerman, and Susan N. Hastings. “Identifying Patterns of Multimorbidity in Older Americans: Application of Latent Class Analysis..” J Am Geriatr Soc 64, no. 8 (August 2016): 1668–73. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.14201.

PMID
27309908
Full Text

Potter, Guy G., Douglas R. McQuoid, Heather E. Whitson, and David C. Steffens. “Physical frailty in late-life depression is associated with deficits in speed-dependent executive functions..” Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 31, no. 5 (May 2016): 466–74. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.4351.

PMID
26313370
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Wei Duan-Porter, Kenneth E. Schmader, Miriam C. Morey, Harvey J. Cohen, and Cathleen S. Colón-Emeric. “Physical Resilience in Older Adults: Systematic Review and Development of an Emerging Construct..” J Gerontol a Biol Sci Med Sci 71, no. 4 (April 2016): 489–95. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glv202.

PMID
26718984
Full Text

Zullig, Leah L., Heather E. Whitson, Susan N. Hastings, Chris Beadles, Julia Kravchenko, Igor Akushevich, and Matthew L. Maciejewski. “A Systematic Review of Conceptual Frameworks of Medical Complexity and New Model Development..” J Gen Intern Med 31, no. 3 (March 2016): 329–37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-015-3512-2.

PMID
26423992
Full Text

Chen, Sunny, Heather Whitson, Ana Quiñones, and Stephen Thielke. “Comparative health and self-rated health are equivalently associated with health indicators among older adults..” J Clin Epidemiol 70 (February 2016): 279–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.08.022.

PMID
26386324
Full Text

Liu, Phillip L., Harvey Jay Cohen, Gerda G. Fillenbaum, Bruce M. Burchett, and Heather E. Whitson. “Association of Co-Existing Impairments in Cognition and Self-Rated Vision and Hearing With Health Outcomes in Older Adults..” Gerontol Geriatr Med 2 (January 2016). https://doi.org/10.1177/2333721415623495.

PMID
27054148
Full Text

Pages