A Message from Dr. Burks: Pediatric Heart Program Advisory Board Findings

The Advisory Board has thoroughly reviewed the Pediatric Heart program, and shared its findings and recommendations.

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to share with you some very positive news regarding our Pediatric Heart Surgery Program. As you know, one of the initiatives for the program we announced in June was the formation of an independent, external Advisory Board to review the program and make recommendations designed to continue improving performance while building upon quality initiatives we had already taken over the past several years.

The Advisory Board has thoroughly reviewed the Pediatric Heart program, and has shared with us its findings and recommendations. The three-member Advisory Board, which reports directly to the UNC Health Care Board of Directors, praised improvements made within the program, noting an “excellent foundation” for success. The Advisory Board also recommended the program may resume performing the most complex pediatric heart surgeries (STAT 4 & 5).

A full copy of the advisory board’s report can be found here.

In its report to the UNC Health Care board, the external advisory board recognized and commended UNC Health Care for its commitment to programmatic quality and improvement and made several recommendations.

Recommendations from the Board build upon the many quality improvement initiatives the pediatric heart surgery program has implemented over the past decade and up to the present. 

Among others, recommendations from the Advisory Board include continuing to recruit physicians and other clinical specialists, and publicly reporting up-to-date results so that families have accurate data to make informed decisions.

We’ve made significant investments to improve our pediatric cardiology program, and will continue to make further enhancements because we recognize the importance of caring for very sick children with incredibly complex medical problems.

The advisory board report and recommendations follow recent surveys of the program by the Joint Commission and the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Those surveys found no issues with the pediatric heart surgery program.

We look forward to implementing the recommendations of the External Advisory Board and continuing our service to the children of North Carolina.


Wesley Burks, MD

CEO UNC Health Care / Dean UNC School of Medicine


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