The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the appointment of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Executive Vice President and School of Medicine Dean Steven L. Berk, M.D., as a Grover E. Murray Professor.
The Grover E. Murray Professorship is intended for faculty members who have attained national and international distinction in their fields for outstanding research, excellence in scholarship and creative achievement. Texas Tech University System Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., said Berk exemplifies all of these criteria.
“Dean Berk’s experience in leadership, academics and clinical practice no doubt qualifies him for this prestigious appointment,” Mitchell said. “But his work is commendable also because of his personal commitment and compassion to those who benefit from his expertise. His leadership has brought innovative opportunities for advancing health care in this region and serves as inspiration for future physicians. It was an honor to serve TTUHSC alongside him.”
In 1999, Berk joined the TTUHSC faculty. He has held the positions of regional dean for the Amarillo Campus, professor of medicine, and the Mirick-Myers Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine. Berk was appointed dean of the School of Medicine in 2006, and executive vice president and provost in 2010.
Berk graduated from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Disease fellowship at Boston City Hospital. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha and Sigma Xi.
Berk is the author or co-author of over 150 peer-reviewed publications and four textbooks. His publications have been cited 3,700 times. He has served on the National Institutes of Health Special Advisory Panel on the evaluation of vaccines against infections in the elderly, the editorial board of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society and as a reviewer for most Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease journals. He also served on the Board of Directors Nominating Committee for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and chaired the AAMC community-based dean’s subcommittee for eight years.
Recently, his editorials about wearing a facemask and dealing with the issue of COVID- 19 in nursing homes and have been circulated nationally by the AAMC.
Berk has been recognized for many achievements throughout his distinguished career. The American College of Physicians bestowed the title of Laureate in Medicine on Berk in 1998, and he was elected to the national board of Alpha Omega Alpha in 1999. In 2006, his memoir entitled Anatomy of a Kidnapping was published by Texas Tech Press and received the 2011 Forward Reviews Book of the year Award. In 2012, he was selected as a Distinguished Alumni by Boston University School of Medicine and had an endowed UMC Health System chair named in his honor.
To demonstrate his commitment and tireless advocacy to support and promote diversity and equality in medical leadership, over the last decade Berk nominated and funded 10 female faculty to attend the prestigious Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine at Drexel University. Additionally, he initiated the TTUHSC policy to select and fund faculty to receive master’s degrees in education as a means to improve medical teaching and develop future faculty leaders.
Through Berk’s leadership, the School of Medicine has experienced continued growth of innovative ideas and programs. His personal vision for addressing the ever-increasing need for primary care physicians launched a unique Family Medicine Accelerated Track, the first program of its kind in the country. Other innovations include the creation of the Covenant Branch Campus for third- and fourth-year clerkship training, the medical student Barbershop Hypertension Program, Deans’ Ambassadors, the Clinical Research Institute, the Department of Medical Education, the Women’s Health Research Institute of Amarillo and the Lubbock medical student-led The Free Clinic.
Faculty members who have been previously named Grover E. Murray professors are:
• Michael Evans, Ph.D.
• Sharon Decker, Ph.D.
• Vadivel Ganapathy, Ph.D.
• Neil Kurtzman, M.D.
• John Orem, Ph.D.
• Gabor Racz, M.D.
• Cynthia Raehl, Pharm.D.
• Quentin Smith, Ph.D.
• Afzal Siddiqui, Ph.D.
• Doug Stocco, Ph.D.
• Surendra Varma, M.D.
• Abraham Verghese, M.D.
The Grover E. Murray Professorship is named in honor of Grover E. Murray, the first president of TTUHSC.