Dr. Wesley Burks named chair of Food Allergy Initiative’s Medical Advisory Board

UNC’s internationally renowned allergy expert to lead effort to develop new treatments and discover a cure for life-threatening food allergies.

Dr. Wesley Burks named chair of Food Allergy Initiative’s Medical Advisory Board click to enlarge Dr. Wesley Burks

Hospital media contact: Danielle M. Bates, T 919-843-9714, C 949-842-0680, dbates@med.unc.edu
FAI media contact: Barbara Rosenstein, T 212-207-1998, brosenstein@faiusa.org

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wesley Burks, MD, one of the world’s leading experts in pediatric allergy, will become chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), the world’s largest source of private funding for food allergy research, effective June 1, 2012. As chair of FAI’s Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Burks will lead a team of prominent scientists, clinicians, and experts in the field of drug development.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Burks as chair of FAI’s Medical Advisory Board,” said Todd J. Slotkin, chair of FAI’s board of directors. “This appointment comes at a time when a cure for food allergy is within our grasp. As an internationally renowned scientist, teacher, and clinician, Dr. Burks has the knowledge and experience to lead our efforts to solve this major public health problem, which affects 5.9 million children—two in every classroom.”

Dr. Burks is chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at North Carolina Children’s Hospital. In March 2012, he was elected president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the largest professional medical organization in the United States devoted to the advancement of the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. He has additionally served as a director on the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and as a member of the Allergy and Immunology Residency Review Committee for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

With funding from the National Institutes of Health and private sources (including FAI), Dr. Burks’ research focuses on the molecular identification of allergens in specific foods, better understanding the mechanisms behind adverse food reactions, and the development of treatments for food allergies, including immunotherapy, a promising treatment currently undergoing clinical trials. He has published more than 250 scholarly book chapters and articles and serves on the editorial board of three major scientific journals: Pediatrics, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology.

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The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) is the world’s largest source of private funding for food allergy research. FAI’s goal is to fund research that seeks a cure; to improve diagnosis and treatment; to increase federal funding of food allergy research and to create safer environments through advocacy; and to raise awareness through education.

Founded in 1998 by concerned parents and grandparents, FAI has committed nearly $77 million toward the fulfillment of its mission. FAI is headquartered in New York, with an office in the Chicago area and an active volunteer committee in the Northwest. FAI enjoys strong relationships with food allergy support groups and advocates nationwide. A national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FAI is supported solely by donations from dedicated individuals, corporations, and foundations. On May 9, 2012, FAI announced its intent to merge with the other leading food allergy organization, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), pending state regulatory approval. For more information, please visit FAI at www.faiusa.org.

North Carolina Children's Hospital protects the health and well-being of North Carolina's 2.1 million children by aligning premier health care practitioners, world-class medical education, and innovative, interdisciplinary research to provide the highest-quality, family-centered care, regardless of a family's ability to pay. As a major referral center for children with complex and chronic conditions, N.C. Children's Hospital works hand-in-hand with community hospitals and pediatricians across the state, providing specialty care to more than 70,000 children from all 100 counties each year.

N.C. Children's Hospital offers complete pediatric inpatient and outpatient care in its 150-bed state-of-the-art facility at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and at more than 25 satellite outpatient clinics throughout North Carolina. The Children's Hospital's world-class physicians, nurses and other clinical staff represent all pediatric subspecialties and are capable of treating children with virtually any disease or disorder. For more information, please visit www.ncchildrenshospital.org.

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