17 January 2019

RIHS has awarded the Richard Grol Visiting Scientist Award 2018 to Heather Whitson, Associate Professor of Medicine with Tenure in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Dr. Heather Whitson is an Associate Professor of Medicine with Tenure in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Dr. Whitson's research is focused on improving care and health outcomes for people with multiple chronic conditions. She is interested in improving care delivery systems and intervention programs to better serve medically complex patients. Against this background she focuses on frailty as a generic characteristic of aging and predictor of negative health outcomes. She is a pioneer in the subject of resilience, specifically physical resilience. Physical resilience is defined as one’s ability to withstand or recover from functional decline following an acute or chronic health stressor. Physical resilience is a topic that has received considerable interest and support in the aging research community in the United States (with Dr. Whitson as a strong voice in the field), and this topic is likely to enable collaborative research efforts between Duke Aging Center and Radboudumc, where geriatrics investigators are leading European initiatives to elaborate the construct of physical resilience. As the Deputy Director of the Duke Aging Center, Dr. Whitson leads research efforts aimed at promoting physical resilience to late-life stressors. As such, she is co-PI of the NIH funded Physical Resiliencies: Indicators and Mechanisms in the Elderly (PRIME) Collaborative and a Core Leader in Duke’s NIH funded Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center, which conducts research within its theme: optimizing physical resilience. Dr. Whitson applies the knowledge and understanding of resilience gained from this research in an interdisciplinary team seeking to improve peri-operative outcomes for frail or at-risk seniors who must undergo surgery.
Heather Whitson was nominated for the award by René Melis of theme Healthcare improvement science. Considering her impressive CV as well as her inspiring lecture and college tour in Nijmegen on 12 April 2018, the RIHS management had an easy task in deciding to award Heather Whitson.
The Richard Grol Visiting Scientist Award is named after the founder of the Institute (formerly known as NCEBP, Nijmegen Centre for Evidence Based Practice) who had the vision to connect the population sciences of the Radboudumc in a strong methodology-oriented research institute. The Award aims at the initiation of new collaborations with foreign institutes in the field of Health Sciences in order to strengthen the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences through teaching or research. The Award is granted once a year, and comes in the form of € 5000,­ for travel and accommodation for the awardee for one or more short stays in Nijmegen.
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