Board of Regents Approves Appointments of Grover E. Murray Professors

News Release


CONTACT:       Hope LaFreniere,

                          (806) 743-1466


The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the appointments of School of Nursing Professor and Associate Dean for Simulation Sharon Decker, Ph.D., R.N., School of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacy Practice Professor Cynthia L. Raehl, Pharm.D., FASHP, and School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics Professor and Ted Hartman Endowed Chair in Medical Education Surendra Varma, M.D., to the Grover E. Murray Professorships.


Grover E. Murray Professors are faculty members who have attained national and international distinction in their fields for outstanding research, excellence in scholarship and creative achievement.


“These individuals represent the best traditions of our faculty,” Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., said. “Their work in education, research and patient care has brought together the finest scholars and students committed to discovering new knowledge, enhancing the educational experience, reducing suffering and improving the health of patients we serve. Drs. Decker, Raehl and Varma have brought honor not only to themselves but to our university.”


Decker serves as the executive director of the TTUHSC simulation programs in Abilene, Lubbock and Odessa simulation centers. She is an accomplished scholar on the subject of interprofessional simulation. She defined debriefing as an essential component of simulation where learned information is synthesized. Decker defined debriefing and guided reflection following simulation as the most essential functions of the simulation experience, allowing students to reflect on their event and process the learning material.


Decker is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and has contributed her expertise to organizations promoting simulation, such as the International Nursing Association for Clinical Association and Learning and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She is an inaugural Fellow in the newly established Academy for Healthcare Simulation and currently is the Covenant Health System Endowed Chair in Simulation and Nursing Education.


Raehl was the founding chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and currently is the regional dean of the School of Pharmacy in Abilene. Raehl has shown expertise in cardiovascular pharmacotherapy, geriatrics, improving health literacy in elders and health systems research. She is one of few pharmacists to serve on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) committee on Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs and served on the United States Pharmacopeia Expert Committee on Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs from 2000 to 2005. In conjunction with serving federal committees, she was a professional consultant to the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and served as the president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy from 2007 to 2008.


Raehl is internationally recognized for health services research conducted which focused on hospital affiliated clinical pharmacy service outcomes. The 20-year study consisting of more than 1,000 hospitals established an association between clinical pharmacists and reduced mortality rates, reduced total costs of care, reduced lengths of stay, lower drug costs and fewer medication errors. Raehl’s data was the catalyst for change in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service structure for pharmacy services.


Varma is executive associate dean for Graduate Medical Education and Resident Affairs, vice chair of pediatrics and a University Distinguished Professor. He has distinguished his career with excellence in pediatric endocrinology and medical education while acting as an outstanding mentor to medical students, residents and junior and senior faculty. Dedicated to being an excellent institutional citizen, he has received significant grant funding to support his educational and clinical practice activities. His research findings have been published in highly respected medical and scientific journals.


Varma has a long-standing record of service at the state and national level and has provided leadership to the Texas Medicaid Enhanced Care Program Advisory Board and the Council on Health Promotions of the Texas Medical Association. Varma currently serves on the Texas Medical Board. Nationally, he is a member of Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Pediatric Research, Alpha Omega Alpha, the American College of Pediatricians and the American Pediatric Society.


“This merit is given as the highest honor a faculty member at TTUHSC can receive,” Grover E. Murray Professor Afzal Siddiqui, Ph.D., said. “To receive it is to be recognized as improving not just TTUHSC’s patient and student welfare, but to improve health outcomes on a global scale. I congratulate my colleagues on their hard-earned distinction.”


Decker, Raehl and Varma join Siddiqui, Neil Kurtzman, M.D., John Orem, Ph.D., Gabor Racz, M.D., Quentin Smith, Ph.D., Douglas Stocco, Ph.D., and Abraham Verghese, M.D., as recipients of the Grover E. Murray Professorship, which is named in honor of Grover E. Murray, the first president of TTUHSC.


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