Lubbock Physician Honored With TMA Academic Award

May 2, 2014

Surendra K. Varma, MD, Lubbock, received the Platinum Award, the top honor in the Texas Medical Association (TMA) Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine. Dr. Varma received the award today during TMA’s annual conference in Fort Worth. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Dr. Varma. “Throughout my professional life, my motto has been to provide the best possible patient care, give students and residents the best education I am capable of providing, offer professional collegiality, and be part of organized medicine.”   

The multilevel award program is designed to recognize academic physicians who are consummate teachers, role models, and medical professionals. The TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians created the award in 2012 to recognize Texas physician leaders who have simultaneously dedicated their lives to the care of patients and to the preparation of the physician workforce of tomorrow.

Dr. Varma is such a physician. He is a distinguished service professor and vice chair of pediatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine in Lubbock, a position he has had since 1983. He also is associate dean for Graduate Medical Education and Resident Affairs. A physician for more than 45 years, Dr. Varma is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology.  

Dr. Varma was recognized by the House of Delegates at TexMed 2014 and received a $5,000 cash award and trophy, generously provided through a grant from the Texas Medical Association Foundation thanks to gifts from physicians and their families and institutional donors.   

“Dr. Varma’s commitment to teaching is second to none,” said Steven L. Berk, MD, dean of the School of Medicine at TTUHSC. “He tirelessly gives of his time and energy, personal resources, and his incredible professional experience to educate new physicians, mentor and develop other faculty in teaching excellence, and influence improvements in medical education,” said Dr. Berk.  

Dr. Varma has an extensive leadership list in local, state, and national organizations. He is a former president of the Lubbock-Crosby-Garza County Medical Society; the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS); and the American Diabetes Association, Texas Affiliate. Dr. Varma currently serves as a member of the TMA Subcommittee for Academic Physicians and also has served as a member of the TMA councils on Scientific Affairs and Health Promotion, and of the TMA House of Delegates. He is a member of the editorial board of Texas Medicine, TMA’s award-winning monthly newsmagazine. 

Currently, he is associate editor of the International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and U.S. editor for the Indian Journal of Pediatrics. Dr. Varma serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Texas Chapter, and serves on the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.   

In 1974, he created the Pediatric Endocrine-Metabolic Division at TTUHSC, allowing West Texas children to receive those specialty services regionally. Prior to that, patients had to go to Dallas, Galveston, and Houston for those services. In 1977, Dr. Varma helped draft a bill, now Texas law, that requires screening of newborns for congenital hypothyroidism.

He received the President’s Outstanding Professor Award from TTUHSC in 2012, as well as the Charles Daeschner Lifetime Achievement Award from TPS.

Dr. Varma received his medical degree from King George’s Medical College in India and completed fellowships in pediatrics and endocrinology at Harvard Medical School.   

Dr. Varma was among six physicians who were recognized by TMA in 2014 through the academic award program. Physicians self-nominate for the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels. A TMA physician committee selects the Platinum Award winner from the eligible Gold-level recipients. Physicians who receive Gold-level recognition remain eligible for the Platinum Award for three years. (See below list of 2013-14 award winners. No physicians applied for the Bronze level this year.)

2013-14 TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine Recipients

 

2014 Platinum-Level Award Winner:

Surendra K. Varma, MD; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock

 

2014 Recipients of Gold-Level Recognition:

Charles Rudolph Bauer, MD; The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Kevin Hood McKinney, MD; The University of Texas Medical Branch

Surendra K. Varma, MD; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock

Rodney B. Young, MD; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Amarillo *

 

2014 Recipients of Silver-Level Recognition:

Cheryl L. Hurd, MD; University of North Texas Health Science Center

G. Sealy Massingill, MD; University of North Texas Health Science Center

 

2013 Recipients of Gold-Level Recognition Eligible for 2014 Platinum-Level Award:

Joel Sullivan Dunnington, MD; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Lewis E. Foxhall, MD; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

John J. Fraser Jr., MD, JD, MPH; The University of Texas Medical Branch

Alice K. Gong, MD; The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Robert Greenberg, MD; Texas A&M Texas Health Science Center/Scott & White Healthcare

Raymond Moss Hampton, MD; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Permian Basin

John C. Jennings, MD; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Permian Basin

Kevin W. Klein, MD; The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Evan G. Pivalizza, MBChB; The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Rajam S. Ramamurthy, MD; The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Michael E. Speer, MD; Baylor College of Medicine

V.O. Speights Jr., DO; Texas A&M Texas Health Science Center/Scott & White Healthcare  

* As a member of Award Selection Committee for the Platinum Level, was not considered for the Platinum Award this year.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. 

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Contact: Pam Udall (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 413-6807; email: pam.udall@texmed.org
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear@texmed.org  

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