Meet Our Chairman & Chief Physician

Wesley Burks, MD, an internationally-renowned expert in pediatric allergy, has served in the dual role of chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of North Carolina Children's Hospital since December 2011.

Burks Headshot
Dr. Wesley Burks is Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Physician in Chief of N.C. Children's Hospital.

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 and a member of the UNC Health Care leadership team. He is also the Curnen Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine.

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. Currently, Burks is president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). He will also become chair of the National Institutes of Health Hypersensitivity, Autoimmune, and Immune-Mediated Diseases Study Section beginning July 1, 2013.

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.

Dr. Burks held various positions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital before returning to North Carolina to join Duke University's medical faculty in 2003. At Duke, 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.