Joe Eron, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division of infectious diseases was awarded the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professorship on March 10, 2021.
Joe Eron, MD, professor of medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology, is an internationally recognized researcher, teacher and clinician who treats HIV patients at UNC Eastowne. Eron also serves as director of the UNC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Clinical Core and is the principal investigator for the UNC Global HIV Prevention and Treatment Clinical Trials Unit. A virtual award celebration honored his decades-long commitment to infectious diseases, along with his work this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claire Farel, MD, MPH, congratulated Dr. Eron and expressed her appreciation for his guidance, wisdom, good humor and careful advice over the years. “You model compassion and empathy in every way, and truly ‘walk the talk’ in caring for your patients and your colleagues. We are so lucky to have you as our leader,” said Farel, assistant professor in infectious diseases.
Asher Schranz, MD, recalled an experience as a fellow that showed Dr. Eron’s genuine commitment to developing new careers. “I remember how, at a board review course in DC a couple years ago, you readily accepted an invitation to go out for dinner with us, your fellows, over joining your senior colleagues who were there from around the country,” said Schranz, assistant professor in infectious diseases. “It meant a lot, and encapsulated your enthusiasm for your trainees and the future of infectious diseases.”
Fred Sparling, PhD, was the fifth chair of the department of medicine (1989-2000) when Eron joined UNC. He recalled Dr. Eron as a well-trained virologist who discovered clinical care and clinical trials was his gift and passion. “Your grace, humility and even keel approach to things has made this a better place for everyone,” Sparling said. “You bring well-being to patients and everyone who works with you. This is a well-deserved honor for you and the institution.”
Dr. Eron joined the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1992 and has built an accomplished clinical care, research and teaching career ever since. In 2018, he was named Vice Chair and co-PI of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), the largest of the five NIH-supported HIV research networks, and will transition to Chair in 2023. With the ACTG for 25 years, Eron previously chaired the network’s HIV Reservoirs and Viral Eradication Transformative Science Group. He has worked extensively in the area of HIV drug development and led or participated in original studies of many antiretroviral therapies. His first clinical trial in the 1990s demonstrated the life-saving benefits of combination antiretroviral therapy and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Since then, Eron has authored more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals focusing on antiretroviral therapy, resistance, pharmacology, transmission, HIV persistence and disruption of latency. Eron attended Harvard Medical School, followed by a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious diseases, also at Harvard.