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., 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.

PMID
22526069
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., S Nicole Hastings, Lawrence R. Landerman, Gerda G. Fillenbaum, Harvey J. Cohen, and Kimberly S. Johnson. “Black-white disparity in disability: the role of medical conditions..” J Am Geriatr Soc 59, no. 5 (May 2011): 844–50. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03401.x.

PMID
21568956
Full Text

Cohen, R., S. Lagoo-Deenadayalan, M. T. Heflin, R. Slone, I. Eisen, J. M. Thacker, and H. Whitson. “Prevalence and Predictors of Complication in Older Surgical Patients with Significant Comorbidity.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59:S159–S159. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2011.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, H. E., R. Malhotra, A. Chan, and T. Ostbye. “Impact of Comorbid Cognitive and Vision Impairment on Disability and Self-Rated Health.” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59:S177–78. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2011.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, H. E., D. Whitaker, G. Potter, L. Sanders, S. Cousins, C. Pieper, and H. Cohen. “Memory Deficits Predict Functional Trajectories in Low Vision Rehabilitation..” In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59:S203–4. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2011.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, Heather E., Stephen Thielke, Paula Diehr, Ann M. O’Hare, Paulo H. M. Chaves, Neil A. Zakai, Alice Arnold, Sarwat Chaudhry, Diane Ives, and Anne B. Newman. “Patterns and predictors of recovery from exhaustion in older adults: the cardiovascular health study..” J Am Geriatr Soc 59, no. 2 (February 2011): 207–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03238.x.

PMID
21288229
Full Text

Whitson, Heather E., Lawrence R. Landerman, Anne B. Newman, Linda P. Fried, Carl F. Pieper, and Harvey Jay Cohen. “Chronic medical conditions and the sex-based disparity in disability: the Cardiovascular Health Study..” J Gerontol a Biol Sci Med Sci 65, no. 12 (December 2010): 1325–31. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glq139.

PMID
20675619
Full Text

Thielke, S. M., H. Whitson, P. Diehr, A. O’Hare, P. H. Chaves, N. Zakai, A. Arnold, and A. B. Newman. “RECOVERY FROM PAIN AND EXHAUSTION IN OLDER ADULTS: THE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH STUDY.” Gerontologist 50 (October 1, 2010): 254–254.

Scholars@Duke

Whitson, H. E., S. Hastings, L. R. Landerman, G. Fillenbaum, H. Cohen, and K. Johnson. “BLACK-WHITE DISPARITY IN DISABILITY: THE ROLE OF SELECTED HEALTH CONDITIONS.” Gerontologist 50 (October 1, 2010): 16–16.

Scholars@Duke

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