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Ronald Falk, MD, chairman of the UNC Department of Medicine, has announced that Joseph Eron, MD, has been appointed Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Ronald Falk, MD, chairman of the UNC Department of Medicine, has announced that Joseph Eron, MD, has been appointed Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Joseph Eron, MD (Credit: Bradley Allf)

Joseph Eron, MD, professor of medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology, is an internationally recognized researcher, teacher and clinician, who treats people living with HIV at UNC Medical Center’s Infectious Diseases Clinic. Eron also serves as director of the UNC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Clinical Core. He is the principal investigator for the UNC Global HIV Prevention and Treatment Clinical Trials Unit. Most recently, he served as Vice Chief for the Division of Infectious Diseases and was named an Oliver Smithies Investigator.

“Joe is uniquely qualified to ensure the future of the division,” said Ronald Falk, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine. “With international stature in the world of infectious diseases, he is an incredibly talented physician who has made innumerable contributions to his discipline. Joe is also a really nice person. I am thrilled that he has accepted the job of division chief.”

Eron joined the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1992 and has built an accomplished clinical care, research and teaching career ever since. Last year, he was named Vice Chair and co-PI of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), the largest of the five NIH-supported HIV research networks, and he will transition to Chair in 2023. With the ACTG for 25 years, Eron previously chaired the network’s HIV Reservoirs and Viral Eradication Transformative Science Group. He has worked extensively in the area of HIV drug development and led or participated in original studies of many antiretroviral therapies. His first clinical trial in the 1990s demonstrated the life-saving benefits of combination antiretroviral therapy and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Since then, Eron has authored more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals focusing on antiretroviral therapy, resistance, pharmacology, transmission, HIV persistence and disruption of latency.

“We have an incredible faculty and staff in the Division of Infectious Diseases, providing outstanding clinical care, and at the same time, leading world class research teams with a global reach,” said Eron. “My goals include continuing to strengthen and broaden our clinical services by expanding our consult services, growing our excellent Compromised Host Service and shepherding our outpatient services to Eastowne. I am committed to supporting the research goals of our more junior faculty as they grow into experienced investigators and leaders in their fields of expertise.”

Eron also says he wants to provide the same opportunities for mentorship that he received.

“I love the people that I work with, working for the common good, and I am grateful for the support that I have received in my 25 years with the Division,” Eron said. “I want to provide that same leadership to our group, which has already had so much success. The talents and commitment of our faculty and fellows are remarkable and I want to provide the guidance (and the freedom) for each of them to succeed.”

Eron attended Harvard Medical School, followed by a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious diseases, also at Harvard. He has received many accolades throughout his career, including UNC’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. He was awarded the HIV Medicine Association’s HIV Clinical Educator Award in 2013. In 2016, the North Carolina Community AIDS Fund presented Eron with its Red Ribbon Award for Outstanding Achievement, marking the 20th anniversary of his discovery of combination therapy for the treatment of HIV.

Eron succeeds Myron Cohen, MD, who guided the division for 30 years.