Chief Executive Officer, UNC Health;
Dean, UNC School of Medicine
Dr. Wesley Burks is CEO of UNC Health, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, and Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He has led the statewide academic health system since January, 2019.
UNC Health’s network spans the state of North Carolina, currently including 15 hospitals, the clinical programs of the UNC School of Medicine, and an expansive provider network. The UNC School of Medicine is consistently rated as one of the nation’s leading public medical schools for both research and clinical training.
During Burks’ tenure as CEO, UNC Health has expanded its network, adding multiple hospitals and establishing new clinical and educational partnerships. Burks has also spearheaded work to better unify and integrate UNC Health’s statewide system and to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture. Each of these changes is meant to help UNC Health better meet its mission to “improve the health and well-being of the people of North Carolina.”
Prior to being named Dean and CEO, Burks spent more than 30 years taking care of patients, conducting research, and helping to educate trainees. He joined UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 as physician-in-chief of the North Carolina Children’s Hospital and was named chair of the department of pediatrics in 2012, as well as the Curnen Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics. In 2015, he was named executive dean of the UNC School of Medicine, during which he oversaw the school’s focus on rural health initiatives, diversity in admissions, and primary care education, which is now ranked first in the country.
An internationally renowned expert on food allergies, specifically peanut allergy, Burks and colleagues lead several immunotherapy clinical studies, and his initial work on peanut allergies is cited as the basis for potential peanut allergy treatment regimens currently under FDA review. Burks is a past chair and member of the NIH Hypersensitivity, Autoimmune, and Immune-mediated Diseases study section and is Past President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Burks has been a featured speaker for national audiences of healthcare leaders, discussing industry trends and the future of healthcare. He also serves as a member of the Becker’s Healthcare Advisory Board, a national group of health system CEOs who advise the publication on trends in health and healthcare.
Burks graduated from the University of Central Arkansas and then the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed a pediatric residency at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and a fellowship in allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center. He served on the faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Duke University Medical Center before joining the UNC School of Medicine.