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Medicine Grand Rounds- Dean Wesley Burks & Executive Dean Cristen Page presents: “Dean’s Office Update”
June 22 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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 16 hospitals or hospital systems, 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 world class 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, and primary care education, a program has been consistently rated among the nation’s best.
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 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.
Cristy Page, MD, MPH, is a family physician and national leader in rural healthcare delivery and workforce development.
She currently serves as Executive Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, a position she has held since 2019. In this role, she oversees the school’s tripartite mission of clinical care, teaching, and research. Under Page’s leadership, the UNC School of Medicine has made great strides toward realizing the vision of being known as the nation’s leading public school of medicine.
Page has overseen a continual increase in research funding. In 2022, funding exceeded $600 million for the first time, growing by more than $100 million since 2019. The School is also in the midst of a period of growth in medical education. In the spring of 2023, the UNC School of Medicine will open Roper Hall, a new medical education building. In the coming years, the School will also expand its class size to better meet the healthcare needs of North Carolina.
In addition to her leadership within the UNC School of Medicine, Page also serves as the Chief Academic Officer of UNC Health. In this role, she oversees the educational and research enterprise across UNC Health’s statewide system. She is responsible for the expansion and development of branch campuses to train more health providers, strategic growth of residency programs in affiliated hospitals, expansion of clinical trials to new communities, and leadership of statewide faculty, among other priorities.
She is also a member of the UNC Health Board of Directors and UNC Health Executive Council, where she collaborates with other senior leaders to set the vision and oversee strategic planning, financial management, and operations for the statewide UNC Health system, as well as a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, where she previously served as Chair.
Page’s vision and leadership have also helped expand the clinical, research, and educational footprint of the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health. She has been instrumental in a partnership with fellow North Carolina system Novant Health to work together in the Wilmington, North Carolina region. This work includes expanded educational opportunities for medical and other health affairs students, as well as access to clinical trials and expanded pediatric specialty care in the region.
Page’s leadership also expands well beyond UNC. As the founder of the Rural GME and Teaching Health Center GME Center, Page and colleagues have worked to enhance access to care in underserved areas across the nation. The consortium focuses on increasing access to care through support for the development of new rural residency programs across multiple specialties as well as health policy and health workforce scholarship. The consortium has produced extensive research on rural health workforce development and successfully informed policies that support increased access to underserved care. Since 2018, the consortium has directly supported 58 new programs that received funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program, as well as an additional 46 programs through the Teaching Health Center Planning and Development (THCPD) Program. A total of 463 new rural training positions have been accredited since the program’s inception. Federal funding for the national centers over the last 3 years is nearly $13 million, with an additional $2M pending.
A native of Wilmington and lifelong North Carolinian, Page first came to UNC as a Morehead Scholar before going on to complete her Medical Doctorate, Master of Public Health, family medicine residency, chief resident position, and faculty development fellowship in Chapel Hill. She has served on the UNC School of Medicine faculty since 2006.