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UNC Health has announced several new leaders for important roles at North Carolina’s leading academic and community health system.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  – UNC Health has announced several new leaders for important roles at North Carolina’s leading academic and community health system.

First, a new team is now dedicated to planning and eventually opening the new, free-standing North Carolina Children’s Hospital, which will serve children and families across our state and region. Andy Willis is leading this work as the Executive Chief Planning and Development Officer. Also co-leading these efforts are Ian Buchanan serving as Chief Project Officer and Erin Edwards serving as Vice President of Project Management.

This project was made possible due to a generous investment of $320 million by the NC General Assembly. The overall size and scope of this project will result in an investment of more than $2 billion.

“There is significant work required to develop, site, and open this hospital by around 2030,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health. “Initial work will include site selection, working with potential partners, establishment of a governance structure, design scope, service line development and philanthropy. Andy, Ian, and Erin will collaborate closely with myself and Dr. Stephanie Davis, physician-and-chief of NC Children’s, as well as many others as we work together on this project that is so important for the children and families of North Carolina for generations to come.”

Second, UNC Health has hired Kevin Howell as its new Chief External Affairs Officer.

Joining UNC Health will extend Howell’s long career serving North Carolina, including working in the Governor’s office, with the state legislature, at the UNC System, throughout the business community and in communities across the state. Most recently, he spent 15 years at N.C. State University serving as Vice Chancellor of External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development.  

“Kevin has had a long and accomplished career in the Triangle and across North Carolina, as well as having a reputation for always focusing on people and service to the state,” Burks said. “His trusted relationships will help UNC Health’s mission of improving the health of all North Carolinians. I look forward to his wise counsel as UNC Health explores new ways to enhance care and access.”

Howell will oversee all external affairs for UNC Health, including building relationships with state leaders, expanding partnerships across the state, and much more.

“I’ve seen the incredibly positive impact UNC Health has on our state’s health and wellbeing, and I’m excited to join Dr. Burks’ leadership team,” Howell said. “Helping UNC Health succeed will bring so many benefits to our state for generations to come.”

Howell also has been very engaged in the greater Triangle region, serving on many boards, including: myFutureNC Board, the North Carolina Symphony Society Board, chair of the Greater Raleigh Chamber Board, the UNC Law Foundation Board and the UNC Health Rex Board. He earned his undergraduate degree from N.C. State and his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.



About UNC Health
UNC Health is a state entity and an affiliated enterprise of the University of North Carolina system, comprised of 15 hospitals, 19 hospital campuses and more than 900 clinics along with the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine (SOM).

It exists to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians and others we serve and to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina SOM. UNC Health provided more than $141 million in Charity Care in fiscal year 2022, and more than $522 million over the last five years. Our hospitals have received numerous awards and recognition for quality care, patient safety and the overall patient experience. For more information, please visit