doctor Steven Berk, dean of the School of Medicine and executive vice president of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center died on Friday.
His death was announced on Friday night by the TTUHSC, where he served as dean for the past 17 years and executive chairman for 13 years.
“Our university community is heartbroken and mourns this tremendous loss to his family, our faculty, staff, students and medical community,” reads a statement from the TTUHSC. The circumstances of his death were not immediately known.
In 1999, he joined the TTUHSC faculty and held the positions of Regional Dean of the Amarillo Campus, Professor of Medicine, and Mirick-Myers Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine.
During his tenure as dean of TTUHSC in Lubbock, Berk championed the creation of the Family Medicine Accelerated Track program – the first of its kind in the country – which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary of the first graduating class.
Through Berk’s leadership, the university was also recently named one of the nation’s top medical schools for its focus on training family medicine physicians.
The creation of the Covenant Branch Campus, the barbershop hypertension program for medical students, the Deans’ Ambassadors, the Clinical Research Institute, the Department of Medical Education, the Amarillo Women’s Health Research Institute, and the free clinic led by Lubbock medical students were areas of growth the university saw through Berk’s leadership.
“Dr. Berk’s distinguished career has been marked by his commitment to students, advocacy for diversity in medicine, and efforts to support rural health needs. We were fortunate to have Dr. Berk as part of the TTUHSC family and we are a university better because of their contributions and character,” reads a statement from TTUHSC President Dr. Lori Rice-Spearman.
Berk was on the verge of retiring in the coming months after leading a distinguished career and celebrating his final commitment ceremony earlier this month.
This article originally appeared in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech HSC School of Medicine Dean Dr. Steven Berk dies