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

Heflin, M. T., T. Dalton, D. Lidsky, P. Liu, L. Legath, S. McDonald, D. Nussbaum, et al. “Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH): An innovative program to improve post-operative outcomes for older adults undergoing elective surgical procedures.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62:S163–64. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2014.

Scholars@Duke

Colón-Emeric, Cathleen S., Heather E. Whitson, Juliessa Pavon, and Helen Hoenig. “Functional decline in older adults..” Am Fam Physician 88, no. 6 (September 15, 2013): 388–94.

PMID
24134046
Scholars@Duke

Whitson, Heather E., Diane Whitaker, Guy Potter, Eleanor McConnell, Fay Tripp, Linda L. Sanders, Kelly W. Muir, Harvey J. Cohen, and Scott W. Cousins. “A low-vision rehabilitation program for patients with mild cognitive deficits..” Jama Ophthalmol 131, no. 7 (July 2013): 912–19. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.1700.

PMID
23619914
Full Text

Bowling, C Barrett, John N. Booth, Monika M. Safford, Heather E. Whitson, Christine S. Ritchie, Virginia G. Wadley, Mary Cushman, Virginia J. Howard, Richard M. Allman, and Paul Muntner. “Nondisease-specific problems and all-cause mortality in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study..” J Am Geriatr Soc 61, no. 5 (May 2013): 739–46. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.12214.

PMID
23617688
Full Text

McDonald, S. R., M. E. Lidsky, C. M. Poer, M. Yanamadala, H. E. Whitson, M. T. Heflin, H. K. White, J. M. Thacker, and S. A. Lagoo. “A collaborative care model for peri-operative care of older adults..” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61:S73–S73. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2013.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, H. E., K. Johnson, R. Sloane, C. Cigolle, and S. Hastings. “Comorbidity Classes Predict Acute Care Use and Readmission..” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61:S85–86. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2013.

Scholars@Duke

Odden, Michelle C., Michael Shlioak, Heather Whitson, Ronit Katz, Patricia Kearney, Christopher deFilippi, Shani Shastri, et al. “A Comparison of Novel and Traditional Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease Across the Spectrum of Older Age: The Cardiovascular Health Study.” In Circulation, Vol. 127. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2013.

Scholars@Duke

Chaudhry, Sarwat I., Gail McAvay, Shu Chen, Heather Whitson, Anne B. Newman, Harlan M. Krumholz, and Thomas M. Gill. “Risk factors for hospital admission among older persons with newly diagnosed heart failure: findings from the Cardiovascular Health Study..” J Am Coll Cardiol 61, no. 6 (February 12, 2013): 635–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2012.11.027.

PMID
23391194
Full Text

Genao, L., H. E. Whitson, D. Zaas, L. L. Sanders, and K. E. Schmader. “Functional status after lung transplantation in older adults in the post-allocation score era..” Am J Transplant 13, no. 1 (January 2013): 157–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-6143.2012.04299.x.

PMID
23167959
Full Text

Akushevich, I., J. Kravchenko, H. Whitson, H. J. Cohen, S. V. Ukraintseva, K. G. Arbeev, and A. I. Yashin. “MEDICARE-BASED MULTIMORBIDITY INDEX FOR PROJECTING MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY AMONG OLDER ADULTS IN THE U.S.” Gerontologist 52 (November 1, 2012): 630–630.

Scholars@Duke

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