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

Cohen, Rachel-Rose, Sandhya A. Lagoo-Deenadayalan, Mitchell T. Heflin, Richard Sloane, Irvin Eisen, Julie M. Thacker, and Heather E. Whitson. “Exploring predictors of complication in older surgical patients: a deficit accumulation index and the Braden Scale..” J Am Geriatr Soc 60, no. 9 (September 2012): 1609–15. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04109.x.

PMID
22906222
Full Text

Thielke, Stephen M., Heather Whitson, Paula Diehr, Ann O’Hare, Patricia M. Kearney, Sarwat I. Chaudhry, Neil A. Zakai, et al. “Persistence and remission of musculoskeletal pain in community-dwelling older adults: results from the cardiovascular health study..” J Am Geriatr Soc 60, no. 8 (August 2012): 1393–1400. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04082.x.

PMID
22861385
Full Text

Genao, L., H. Whitson, D. Zaas, L. Sanders, and K. Schmader. “Functional Status after Lung Transplantation in Older Adults in the Post Allocation Score Era..” In American Journal of Transplantation, 12:49–49. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2012.

Scholars@Duke

Hastings, S. N., K. S. Johnson, R. Sloane, L. R. Landerman, C. Horney, and H. E. Whitson. “From the Wellderly to the Sickest Elderly: Classifying Older ED Patients According to Patterns of Health Service Use.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 60:S30–31. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2012.

Scholars@Duke

Henninger, Debra E., Heather E. Whitson, Harvey J. Cohen, and Dan Ariely. “Higher medical morbidity burden is associated with external locus of control..” J Am Geriatr Soc 60, no. 4 (April 2012): 751–55. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.03904.x.

PMID
22458257
Full Text

Johnson, Kimberly S., S Nicole Hastings, Jama L. Purser, and Heather E. Whitson. “The Junior Faculty Laboratory: an innovative model of peer mentoring..” Acad Med 86, no. 12 (December 2011): 1577–82. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823595e8.

PMID
22030756
Full Text

Henninger, D. E., H. E. Whitson, H. Cohen, and D. Ariely. “HIGHER MEDICAL MORBIDITY BURDEN IS ASSOCIATED WITH EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL.” Gerontologist 51 (November 1, 2011): 56–56.

Scholars@Duke

Thielke, S. M., H. E. Whitson, and P. Diehr. “TRAJECTORIES OF MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN AMONG OLDER ADULTS IN THE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH STUDY.” Gerontologist 51 (November 1, 2011): 483–483.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, Heather E., Karen Steinhauser, Natalie Ammarell, Diane Whitaker, Scott W. Cousins, Deidra Ansah, Linda L. Sanders, and Harvey J. Cohen. “Categorizing the effect of comorbidity: a qualitative study of individuals' experiences in a low-vision rehabilitation program..” J Am Geriatr Soc 59, no. 10 (October 2011): 1802–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03602.x.

PMID
22091493
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Deidra Ansah, Linda L. Sanders, Diane Whitaker, Guy G. Potter, Scott W. Cousins, David C. Steffens, Lawrence R. Landerman, Carl F. Pieper, and Harvey Jay Cohen. “Comorbid cognitive impairment and functional trajectories in low vision rehabilitation for macular disease..” Aging Clin Exp Res 23, no. 5–6 (October 2011): 343–50. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03325233.

PMID
22526069
Full Text

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