Apart from a two-year research fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Falk has been associated with the UNC School of Medicine for more than 40 years as a medical student, resident and valued faculty member. He joined the faculty in 1984 and currently serves as Allan Brewster Distinguished Professor, chief, Division of Nephrology, director, Center for Transplant Care, and director, UNC Kidney Center.
As Chair of the Department of Medicine, Falk will be charged with managing the largest unit of the School of Medicine while continuing and strengthening its national reputation for high level research funding and rigorous educational training.
Falk will report directly to Dean Roper as Dean and CEO, and on a day-to-day basis will report to Wesley Burks, MD, Executive Dean of the School of Medicine. Falk will lead a team of Vice Chairs that includes Vice Chair Andrew Greganti, MD – who has served as Chair in an interim role since late last year – Janet Rubin, MD, Vice Chair for Research; Janet Hadar, Vice Chair for Clinical Integration; and Lee Berkowitz, MD, Vice Chair for Education. Bruce Wicks, MHA, will continue to serve the Department as Associate Chair for Administration
Falk will oversee the recruitment and development of the department’s faculty, residents, students and staff. He will also work closely with other leaders from the School of Medicine and UNC Health Care System in strategic planning and program development efforts.
Falk is a national leader in the field of nephrology, serving as President of the American Society of Nephrology, the largest kidney professional society, in 2012. His additional clinical and research specialties include vasculitis and autoimmune disorders.
Along with Charles Jennette, MD, Falk established the Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network which has greatly enhanced communication and research collaborations between community nephrology offices and the UNC School of Medicine. To date, approximately 1,000 physicians from more than 400 clinics throughout the state and region have participated.
His work has also focused on outreach efforts to improve the prevention and care for kidney disease among the people of North Carolina. He established the UNC Kidney Education and Outreach Program with the purpose of screening for kidney disease and hypertension across the state and educating the public about these conditions. Today, in addition to providing educational materials and lab testing in mobile units, the program encourages everyone to ask “Hey Doc, how are my kidneys,” during each trip to the doctor. This slogan has appeared across television advertising campaigns and billboards around the state.
In April, Falk was recognized with the Distinguished Medical Faculty Award with one colleague calling him a “quadruple threat” in reference to his achievements as a clinician, teacher, researcher and administrator.