College of Dentistry’s Orpheus Triplett Honored with 2022 UT President’s Award

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Orpheus Triplett, DDS, left, was honored with a 2022 UT President’s Award in the Optimistic and Visionary category by UT System President Randy Boyd, right, during the President’s Awards luncheon today in Knoxville.

Orpheus Triplett, DDS, assistant dean for Community Oral Health and Outreach in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Dentistry, was among seven employees honored today with 2022 UT President’s Awards. The awards were announced by UT System President Randy Boyd during the UT Board of Trustees meeting in Knoxville.

The President’s Awards program recognizes outstanding contributions by staff and faculty in relation to the UT System’s overarching values in seven categories: United and Connected, Bold and Impactful, Optimistic and Visionary, Excel in All We Do, Embrace Diversity, Transparent and Trusted, Nimble and Innovative. Honorees are selected from across the system from nominations by campus and institute leaders.

Dr. Triplett won a President’s Award in the Optimistic and Visionary category.

Dr. Triplett joined the UTHSC College of Dentistry in 2014 as the director of Community Relations and Outreach. Prior to that, he was the director of dental care at Christ Community Health Services, where he oversaw the network’s expansion from one dental clinic to five. He currently serves as treasurer of Christ Community Health Services board of directors.

At UTHSC, Dr. Triplett has created partnerships with many community organizations including Head Start, Agape Child and Family Services, New Horizon Apartments, Red Door Ministries, Freedom Preparatory Academy, and others. Dr. Triplett coordinates the college’s annual Give Kids a Smile Day, during which dental and dental hygiene students under the supervision of faculty provide free dental care to students in the Memphis community. He was named to his current position as an assistant dean in 2019.

Dr. Triplett, right, and Dr. Volk Vinall, interim chair of the UTHSC Department of Pediatric Dentistry, coordinated a recent Give Kids A Smile Day.

Dr. Triplett received a Congressional Recognition from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in 2018, and a UT President’s Award Citation of Merit in 2019. In February, he was honored by the Grizzlies with their HBCU Empowerment Award. Dr. Triplett earned his undergraduate degree at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss., and a DDS degree at Howard University. Both are HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities.   

“Dean Triplett has led the way for our college’s extensive outreach to those citizens with no or limited access to dental care,” James Ragain, DDS, MS, PhD, FICD, FACD, EPFA, professor and dean of the UTHSC College of Dentistry, said when Dr. Triplett’s honor from the Grizzlies earlier this year. “His positive, can-do outlook on life is a beacon for us all. We are very proud of him and the great things he does for our community.”

The President’s Awards are the highest honor given by the UT System to employees. The winners receive plaques and $3,000. The other winners in the various categories were: Dr. Frank Butler, UT Chattanooga, Bold and Impactful; Dr. Cindy West, UT Martin, Embrace Diversity; Blake Reagan, UT System Administration, Nimble and Innovative; Carla Mason, UT Chattanooga, Excel in All We Do; Tyler White, UT Knoxville, United and Connected; Patricia Burks-Jelks, UT Space Institute, Transparent and Trusted.