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 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

Lea, Colby, Ana Quiñones, Heather Whitson, Julie Bynum, and Stephen Thielke. “Changes in Self-Rated Health During the Transition to Retiring Living Among Medicare Managed-Care Recipients..” J Hous Elderly 30, no. 1 (2016): 76–88. https://doi.org/10.1080/02763893.2015.1129383.

PMID
29527088
Full Text

Genao, Liza, Michael T. Durheim, Xiaojuan Mi, Jamie L. Todd, Heather E. Whitson, and Lesley H. Curtis. “Early and Long-term Outcomes of Older Adults after Acute Care Encounters for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation..” Ann Am Thorac Soc 12, no. 12 (December 2015): 1805–12. https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201504-250OC.

PMID
26394180
Full Text

Thielke, Stephen M., Paula H. Diehr, Laura M. Yee, Alice M. Arnold, Ana R. Quiñones, Heather E. Whitson, Mini E. Jacob, and Anne B. Newman. “Sex, Race, and Age Differences in Observed Years of Life, Healthy Life, and Able Life among Older Adults in The Cardiovascular Health Study..” J Pers Med 5, no. 4 (November 25, 2015): 440–51. https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm5040440.

PMID
26610574
Full Text

Berger, Miles, Jacob W. Nadler, Jeffrey Browndyke, Niccolo Terrando, Vikram Ponnusamy, Harvey Jay Cohen, Heather E. Whitson, and Joseph P. Mathew. “Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction: Minding the Gaps in Our Knowledge of a Common Postoperative Complication in the Elderly..” Anesthesiol Clin 33, no. 3 (September 2015): 517–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anclin.2015.05.008.

PMID
26315636
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Sina Farsiu, Sandra Stinnett, Sung Lee, Leon Kwark, Guy Potter, James Burke, Scott W. Cousins, and Eleonora Lad. “Retinal imaging biomarkers for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.” In Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Vol. 56. ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2015.

Scholars@Duke

Wright, Jonathan P., Arthika Chandramohan, Xuan Duong Fernandez, Eleonora Lad, Jie Zhuang, Scott W. Cousins, and Heather E. Whitson. “Is discrepancy in self-reported vision and visual acuity related to neurocognitive status of AMD patients?.” In Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Vol. 56. ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2015.

Scholars@Duke

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