Wesley Burks, MD, an internationally-renowned expert in pediatric allergy, joined the UNC School of Medicine on Dec. 1, 2011. He serves in the dual role of Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief of North Carolina Children's Hospital.
Dr. Burks came to UNC from Duke University Medical Center, where he was the Kiser-Arena Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, and Program Director of the allergy and immunology training program. In those roles, he was active in clinical care, research, teaching and administration.
"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Burks to UNC. He is an internationally-renowned researcher, teacher and clinician," said William Roper, MD, MPH, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of UNC Health Care, when Burks' appointment was announced in September 2011.
As Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Burks leads the department in strategic planning in order to grow robust clinical programs, expand the Department’s funded research programs and encourage collaboration, and promote excellence in teaching. As Physician-in-Chief of N.C. Children’s Hospital, he is the physician leader for all children’s health programs at UNC. In these roles, Burks is also a member of the UNC Health Care leadership team. Burks is also the Curnen Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine.
Dr. Burks succeeded Alan Stiles, MD, who served as chair of the UNC Department of Pediatrics and Physician in Chief of N.C. Children’s Hospital from 2000 until Nov. 30, 2011. Dr. Stiles has since transitioned to a new role as Vice President for Network Development and Strategic Alliances for the UNC Health Care System and continues to serve as professor of pediatrics providing clinical services in the Newborn Critical Care Center.
"Our search committee interviewed many outstanding candidates, all with exceptional talent and willingness to lead a complex department and hospital," said Ronald Falk, MD, Professor and Chief of Nephrology and Hypertension, who chaired the search committee charged with finding Dr. Stiles' successor. "Dr. Burks has experience in all of the essential administrative areas but can also contribute to translational research and patient care at UNC."
As an international leader in the development of immunotherapy for food allergy, Dr. Burks has always maintained an active translational food allergy research program. He has been funded by the NIH since 1989 and has published more than 250 scholarly book chapters and articles, including publications in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine. In addition, he is currently on the editorial board of three journals: Pediatrics, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology.
Dr. Burks is well known as a top clinician, accepting referrals from across the nation, and has served as an advocate for improving care for allergy and immunology patients. He has served as a director on the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and as a member of the Allergy and Immunology RRC for the ACGME. He is also president-elect of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Dr. Burks recently received the Bret Ratner Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his contributions to the field. He is also known for advancing teaching and learning opportunities for trainees and faculty members and has been active in mentoring programs for college students and others aspiring to join the health professions.
Dr. Burks received a BS degree from the University of Central Arkansas and a medical degree from the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. He completed a pediatric internship and residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He also completed a fellowship in allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center. Prior to returning to Duke in 2003, Burks held various positions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.