Heather Whitson, MD, MHS
The AGS and the AGS Health in Aging Foundation announced that Heather E. Whitson, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Medicine and Ophthalmology at the Duke University School of Medicine and Deputy Director at Duke’s Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, would be honored with the 2018 Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Clinical Investigation. A past program chair for the AGS annual conference, Dr. Whitson's Yoshikawa plenary presentation at #AGS18 focuses on individualizing health and promoting resilience in medically complex older adults.
“Dr. Whitson is not only recognized nationally as a leading geriatrics researcher but also as a creative and compassionate clinician,” notes Ellen Flaherty, PhD, APRN, AGSF, AGS Board Chair. “That blend of expertise at the lab bench and in the clinic and classroom reflects everything we have come to expect from AGS members.”
Dr. Whitson’s interest in improving care delivery systems to better serve older adults with complex health needs has contributed to the leading role Duke’s Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development has played in efforts to promote resilience to common “late-life stressors,” such as surgery and sensory loss. Among several noteworthy highlights from a clinical and academic career that already spans more than a decade, Dr. Whitson developed a novel rehabilitation model for people living with both vision impairment and cognitive impairment, and she is part of an interdisciplinary team seeking to improve health outcomes for frail older adults immediately before, during, and after surgery.
More broadly, Dr. Whitson has focused her research career on improving care and health outcomes for older individuals living with multiple chronic conditions. Her unique interest in links between eye health and brain function, for example, are tracing important associations between Alzheimer’s disease and changes in the eye, which could advance early detection for certain types of dementia.
An AGS member since 2005, Dr. Whitson received her medical degree from Cornell University in 2000 and began her work at Duke as a medical resident shortly thereafter. In addition to chairing the 2017 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting Program Committee and co-chairing a series of “bedside-to-bench” AGS research conferences sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Dr. Whitson has authored or co-authored more than 60 research publications, many on the breadth of her own work supported by the NIA and other influential funders..
Announced at the 2016 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting and supported for 16 years thanks to generous contributions to the AGS Health in Aging Foundation, the Yoshikawa Award recognizes the research accomplishments of mid-career clinician-investigators directly involved in the care of older adults. It is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting.
Past Recipients of the Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award:
2017 Sei Lee, MD, MAS
2016 Mara Schonberg, MD, MPH
2015 Rebecca Sudore, MD
2014 XinQi Dong, MD, MPH
2013 Cynthia J. Brown, MD, MSPH
2012 Malaz A. Boustani, MD, MPH
2011 Catherine A. Sarkisian, MD, MSPH
2010 Cynthia M. Boyd, MD, MPH
2009 Louise C. Walter, MD
2008 R. Sean Morrison, MD
2007 Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH
2006 David J. Cassaret, MD, MS
2005 Joe Verghese, MBBS, MS
2004 Terri R. Fried, MD
2003 Edward Marcantonio, MD, Boston, MA
2002 James T. Pacala, MD, Minneapolis, MN
2001 Thomas M. Gill, MD, New Haven, CT
2001 Greg A. Sachs, MD, Chicago, IL
2000 Elizabeth Capezuti, PhD, RN
1999 Mark A. Supiano, MD
1998 Sharon K. Inouye, MD
1992 Mary Tinetti, MD
1991 Larry Rubenstein, MD, MPH