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Dr. A. Wesley Burks, executive dean for UNC’s School of Medicine and part of UNC Health Care’s senior leadership team, has been named CEO of UNC Health Care, dean of the medical school and vice chancellor for UNC’s medical affairs.
Burks succeeds Dr. William Roper, who announced his retirement in May and was appointed in October as interim president of the UNC System beginning in mid-January. Burks will begin his new role on Jan. 15.
Burks’ name was presented by President Margaret Spellings to the UNC System Board of Governors for a vote following unanimous votes by the UNC Health Care board of directors and UNC’s Board of Trustees.
Burks has spent more than 30 years taking care of patients, conducting research, helping to educate trainees and leading institutions. He joined UNC in 2011 as physician-in-chief of the N.C. Children’s Hospital and was named chair of the department of pediatrics in 2012. In 2015, he was named executive dean of the medical school.
Prior to serving at UNC, Burks worked at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. A well-published and renowned researcher in the field of pediatric allergy and immunology, Burks led a research team that was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine for the world’s first treatment for potentially fatal peanut allergies.
“Dr. Burks is the right person to lead UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine at a time of tremendous and unprecedented change in the health care industry,” Spellings said. “He is uniquely positioned to immediately develop and execute a strategy that leads our health care system and School of Medicine into the future.”
“It is the highest honor to serve these amazing institutions as CEO and dean,” Burks said. “I look forward to working with many people, especially our talented team, to develop and communicate a strategic vision and long-term goals for the institution, while strengthening our national and international standing.”
Chancellor Carol L. Folt noted how Burks “has dedicated his professional life to finding new cures for the most deadly diseases” and “embraces compassionate care outcomes that change the lives of patients and their families. Thanks to his focus on education, there are thousands of caring physicians and clinicians providing the best, affordable care across our state, nation and world.”