Kelly to serve as Interim Chair for Department of Pediatrics

Kevin J. Kelly, MD, has been named Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Interim Physician-in-Chief of UNC Children’s effective March 18. Kelly accepts the role from Wesley Burks, MD, who will step down to focus on his role as the School of Medicine’s Executive Dean.

Kelly to serve as Interim Chair for Department of Pediatrics click to enlarge Kevin J. Kelly, MD

Kelly currently serves as the department of pediatrics’ vice chair for clinical operations and pediatrician-in-chief of UNC Children’s.

He will serve in the interim role while an external search is conducted for a permanent chair. Julie Byerley, MD, MPH, Toni Darville, MD, Terry Noah, MD, and Allen Habif will continue in their roles as vice chairs of the department.

“I am extremely honored by this appointment and look forward to serving the faculty and staff in the department of pediatrics,” Kelly said. “During my time as interim chair, I will strive to continue moving the department forward on the trajectory started by Dr. Burks and want all members of the department to know my door is open to them.”

Kelly joined the department of pediatrics in 2013. Since that time he has provided medical oversight for UNC Children’s inpatient and outpatient clinical operations. In addition, he oversaw the development and implementation of a new organizational and leadership structure at UNC Children’s and the creation of a Children’s Operations Council. He plans to continue and expand this work as physician-in-chief.

“I hope to build on the many clinical, education, research, and advocacy initiatives advanced by Dr. Burks. Building even stronger ties with our pediatric colleagues in neurology, dermatology, radiology, surgical subspecialties, and anesthesia disciplines will be a priority in my role as interim physician-in-chief,” Kelly said.

Before coming to UNC, Kelly served in multiple leadership roles. He served as the chief medical officer for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Children’s Specialty Group, chair of pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, and as vice chair of Financial and Clinical Operations at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he also served for a period as interim chair of pediatrics. His wife, Christine Walsh-Kelly, MD, serves as a professor of pediatrics in the UNC Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and is nationally recognized for her work in quality improvement.

Kelly received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He completed his pediatrics residency at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, followed by fellowships in critical care medicine at Children’s Hospital of Boston and allergy and immunology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

In a memo to faculty members in the department of pediatrics, William Roper, MD, MPH, and Wesley Burks, MD, welcomed Kelly to the role and expressed confidence that “the department’s outstanding reputation for clinical care, education and research will thrive under Kelly’s leadership.”