Inaugural Wilkerson Professorship Awarded to Viera

UNC Family Medicine associate professor Anthony Viera, MD, MPH is the inaugural recipient of the Charles Baynes Wilkerson, MD ‘06 Distinguished Professorship in Family Medicine.

Inaugural Wilkerson Professorship Awarded to Viera click to enlarge Anthony Viera, MD MPH

The Wilkerson professorship was created by Dr. Annie Louise Wilkerson in memory of her father, Dr. Charles B. Wilkerson, through her generous giving.  According to stories told by Dr. Annie (as she was known in her community), tagging along with her father, a general practitioner, on house calls inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.  Charles Wilkerson, MD provided primary care in the Apex and Raleigh areas and much like today’s family physician, he did everything from caring for patients with colds to delivering babies and providing preventive care.  He received his medical degree from UNC in 1906.

“Dr. Annie was a pioneering physician and is a legend in Wake County,” says Dr. Warren P. Newton, Chair of UNC Family Medicine and Vice Dean of Medical Education.  “She was known for her compassionate care of patients including the underserved at a time when it was very unpopular.  Having a professorship at UNC Family Medicine in her father’s name is an honor. “

Anthony Viera, MD MPH is an associate professor in the UNC Department of Family Medicine. His title will be the Charles B. Wilkerson, MD ‘06 Distinguished Scholar, which he will hold for four years.  Dr. Viera completed his residency training in family medicine at the Jacksonville Naval Hospital in Florida.  As an active duty Navy family physician, Dr. Viera was posted to Guam for two years before returning to Jacksonville Naval Hospital. During his Navy tenure, he received multiple service awards, such as the Gold Star and Commendation Medal, and teaching honors, including a New Faculty Scholar Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and several Faculty Teacher of the Year awards from his department.

Anthony began his career in Chapel Hill as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar in 2004.  Since that time Dr. Viera’s research productivity and accomplishments are, simply put, phenomenal.  Don Pathman, MD, MPH, Research Director at UNC Family Medicine notes that, “he is the most productive young researcher in terms of projects, funding and papers, that I have encountered in my 24 years in the department.”

Dr. Viera has also contributed significantly to the clinical scholarship appropriate for a generalist discipline.  Since 2004, Dr. Viera has published 15 clinically focused papers in refereed journals, eight editorials, and five book chapters.  In recognition of his clinical scholarship, he was invited to serve as an editor to the 6th edition of Essentials of Family Medicine, which is the predominant textbook used in family medicine clerkships nationwide

Dr. Viera has an emerging national reputation in the area of hypertension.  Dr. David Hyman at Baylor College of Medicine describes Dr. Viera as, “a rising star in our field” and his work as “excellent, highly regarded and having significant impact on our field.”

Dr. Viera has provided full-scope clinical care, including attending on the Family Medicine Inpatient and Maternal Child Services, outpatient care in the Family Medicine Center, and emergency and urgent care at Chatham Hospital.  For these clinical activities, he was recognized in the 2010 Best Doctors in America and received the Health Care Heroes Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

“According to surviving family members, Dr. Annie would want the holder of the professorship to be a good and active clinician, an educator and an innovator, said Dr. Newton.  “We feel Dr. Viera fills these requirements exceptionally well.”