The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the AGS Health in Aging Foundation today 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, will 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 will deliver a plenary presentation on individualizing health and promoting resilience in medically complex older adults as part of the AGS 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS18; May 3-5 in Orlando, Fla.).
"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. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has–for more than 75 years–worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.
About the Health in Aging Foundation
The Health in Aging Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through HealthinAging.org. We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation's work, visit HealthinAgingFoundation.org.
About the Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Clinical Investigation
Named in honor of Dr. Thomas T. Yoshikawa and his wife, Catherine–who together served the AGS and the geriatrics community for more than two decades–the Yoshikawa Award will offer recognition and financial support to emerging geriatrics scholars who represent the early promise of the Yoshikawas' own illustrious careers. The award has been supported thanks to generous contributions to the AGS Health in Aging Foundation from AGS members, as well as friends and colleagues of the Yoshikawas.
About the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting
The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. More than 2,500 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene May 3-5, 2018 (pre-conference program on May 2), at the Walt Disney World® Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.
Daniel E Trucil