Cynthia Whitener, MD

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    1988 …2024

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research interests

    Dr. Cynthia Whitener has been on the faculty at Penn State College of Medicine (PSCOM) since 1994. She has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Hospital Epidemiologist, Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division, and Director of the HIV clinical program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (HMC). These roles, although primarily administrative, have also facilitated some of her scholarly work. She has had almost 30 years’ experience in HIV clinical research, previously participating as an investigator in the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at PSCOM and currently serving as HMC principal investigator for HRSA federally funded Ryan White Care Act Part B and Part C grants. Two examples of HIV-related research projects include: a recent collaborative study with several programs in the greater Harrisburg area (Special Projects of National Significance, funded by HRSA) to develop a social media-based intervention tool to improve the HIV care continuum among young HIV-infected patients, and the second is a joint study with colleagues at Penn State University who are currently developing a simple, low-cost device for self-testing HIV viral loads, funded by NIH (Guan, PI). Once the device is ready, HMC patient volunteers will be trialing the device. In addition to HIV research, Dr. Whitener has considerable experience in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and has collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a variety of outbreak investigations that have been published. She contributed to the international guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disseminated Mycobacterium chimaera infection following cardiac surgery cardiopulmonary bypass, a recent unusual worldwide outbreak related to contaminated heater-cooler units. Additionally, she and her colleagues have published on other aspects of infection prevention, including risk factors and outcomes for those with resistant organisms.

    Clinical interests

    Dr. Whitener's clinical interests are General Infectious Diseases and HIV infection, as well as clinical quality improvement. She is also interested in highly infectious diseases preparedness (e.g., Ebola, SARS-CoV-2, others).

    Teaching and educational interests

    Dr. Whitener enjoys mentoring and educating medical students, residents, and fellows in clinical infectious diseases at the bedside and in small and large group settings.

    Professional information

    Dr. Cynthia Whitener serves as a Hospital Epidemiologist, Penn State Health / Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

    Fellow, American College of Physicians, 2014

    Fellow, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), 2003

    Member, Infectious Diseases Society of America, 1989 - present

    Diplomate, Subspecialty of Infectious Diseases - American Board of Internal Medicine, 1994 - 2024

    Diplomate - American Board of Internal Medicine, 1991, 2001, 2011 certifications

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Infectious Disease, Fellowship, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

    … → 1994

    Internal Medicine, Residency, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

    … → 1991

    MD, West Viginia University School of Medicine

    … → 1988

    Biology, BA (Summa Cum Laude), West Virginia University

    … → 1984


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