Burks named new Chair of UNC Department of Pediatrics, Physician-in-Chief of N.C. Children's Hospital

Wesley Burks, MD, will join the UNC School of Medicine on Dec. 1, 2011. He is an internationally-renowned expert in pediatric allergy.

Burks named new Chair of UNC Department of Pediatrics, Physician-in-Chief of N.C. Children's Hospital click to enlarge Wesley Burks, MD

Dr. Burks is currently the Kiser-Arena Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, and Program Director of the allergy and immunology training program at Duke University Medical Center. In that role, he is active in clinical care, research, teaching and administration.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Burks to UNC.  He is an internationally-renowned researcher, teacher and clinician," said William Roper, MD, MPH, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of UNC Health Care.

Dr. Burks will succeed Dr. Alan Stiles, who has served as chair of the UNC Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief at N.C. Children’s Hospital since 2000. Dr. Stiles will transition to a new role as Vice President for Network Development and Strategic Alliances for the UNC Health Care System, as well as continuing to serve as professor of pediatrics providing clinical services in the Newborn Critical Care Center.

As Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Burks is expected to lead the department in strategic planning, to grow robust clinical programs, to expand the Department’s funded research programs and encourage collaboration, and to promote excellence in teaching.  As Physician-in-Chief of the N.C. Children’s Hospital, he will be the physician leader for all children’s health programs at UNC. Dr. Burks will also be a member of the UNC Health Care Leadership Team.

"Our search committee interviewed many outstanding candidates, all with exceptional talent and willingness to lead a complex department and hospital," said Ronald Falk, MD, Professor and Chief of Nephrology and Hypertension, and chair of the search committee. "Dr. Burks has experience in all of the essential administrative areas, but can also contribute to translational research and patient care at UNC. We look forward to him joining us in December."

Dr. Burks has always maintained an active translational food allergy research program, and has been funded by the NIH since 1989. He has published more than 250 scholarly book chapters and articles, including publications in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine. He is also an International leader in the development of immunotherapy for food allergy. Dr. Burks is currently on the editorial board of three journals: Pediatrics, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology.

He is well known as a top clinician, accepting referrals from across the nation, and has served as an advocate for improving care for allergy and immunology patients. He has served as a director on the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and as a member of the Allergy and Immunology RRC for the ACGME. He is also President-Elect of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Dr. Burks recently received the Bret Ratner Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his contributions to the field.

Dr. Burks is also known for advancing teaching and learning opportunities for trainees and faculty members. He has been active in mentoring programs for college students and others aspiring to join the health professions.

"Dr. Burks possesses the right combination of skills – for administrative work, teaching, research, and patient care – that we look for in a department chair," said Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD, Executive Dean for the UNC School of Medicine. "I am confident he will be an outstanding leader for the Department of Pediatrics, for the School of Medicine and for the UNC Health Care System in Children's Health. We are very excited to welcome him to UNC."

Dr. Burks received a BS degree from the University of Central Arkansas and a medical degree from the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. He completed a pediatric internship and residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Burks also completed a fellowship in allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center. Prior to returning to Duke in 2003, Dr. Burks held various positions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.