Lubbock pediatric endocrinologist Surendra K. Varma, MD, was honored with the 2018 Texas Medical Association Distinguished Service Award, TMA’s highest honor, during TexMed 2018 on Saturday.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Varma likely prevented countless babies from the complications of congenital hypothyroidism, a treatable thyroid condition — for which Texas began to screen newborns in the 1970s.
He is executive associate dean of graduate medical education and resident affairs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock. He also is the Ted Hartman Endowed Chair in Medical Education and vice chair of pediatrics at the TTUHSC School of Medicine. He directed the school’s pediatric residency program for more than 30 years.
Dr. Varma has been active in TMA and the Lubbock County Medical Society for nearly 40 years.
“It is a unique honor. I am privileged to be in such an elite group [of TMA Distinguished Service Award honorees],” Dr. Varma said. “When I started my professional career, my goal was to provide the best care to my patients, and to be a very effective teacher … goals I set without anticipating any awards or accolades.”
Dr. Varma is a native of Lucknow, India, where he earned his medical degree and completed an internship and fellowship at King George’s Medical University.
In the United States, he completed additional fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. He did his pediatric residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Prior to joining Texas Tech, he was a junior faculty member at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School. He then joined the faculty at the TTUHSC School of Medicine, where he established the medical school’s Pediatric Endocrine-Metabolic Division in 1974.
Dr. Varma has been a TMA leader in numerous capacities, including as a member of the TMA Council on Medical Education, the Council on Scientific Affairs, the Council on Health Promotion, the Subcommittee on Child and Adolescent Health, the Committee on Access to Care, the Committee on Academic Physicians, and the editorial board of Texas Medicine magazine. He also chaired the TMA Section on Pediatrics and served as a delegate to TMA’s House of Delegates.
“Dr. Varma is an extraordinary physician, educator, academic, and community and public servant,” said Davor Vugrin, MD, immediate past-president of the Lubbock County Medical Society, which nominated the physician. “He is a giant role model for all of us — especially for the younger generations of physicians — and as such he is well-deserving of this recognition and high honor.”