Generosity is a fitting tribute to Dr. Walker’s legacy
In 45+ years as an OMS, R. Gilbert (Gil) Triplett, DDS, PhD, has made significant and wide-ranging contributions to the specialty as a military surgeon, a researcher and an educator. But a conversation with him is more likely to focus on his kids, his residents at Texas A&M College of Dentistry and his abiding regard for the late R.V. Walker than any of his personal accomplishments.
Dr. Triplett, in a fitting tribute to his friend and mentor, recently increased his commitment to the OMS Foundation’s RV Walker Society to $50,000. “R.V. inspired all of us, including me, with his leadership and generosity,” Dr. Triplett said. “It was his style to listen, to get along and to encourage compassion and collaboration in everyone he met.”
Like Dr. Walker, Dr. Triplett has devoted his professional life to training and mentoring the next generation of OMS. Twenty-two years ago, Texas A&M’s College of Dentistry honored him with its Regents Professor Service Award for a career of exemplary service. In 2014 he received the OMS Foundation’s Research Recognition Award, recognizing outstanding research contributions to the specialty. Either award, or any of the many others he has received, could have constituted a capstone to a productive career. Instead, he has recently stepped up to reprise his role as Chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery during the College’s search for a successor. “I have no specific plans to retire,” he said. “There are some things I still want to accomplish before that happens.”
Serving as OMS program director to multiple generations of OMS residents has kept him forward-focused and hopeful for the future. “The scope of our specialty has exploded with the introduction of dual-degree programs,” he said. “The expansion of research and education opportunities for oral surgeons has resulted in huge improvements in our capacity to care for our patients. The big challenge before us is to prove conclusively with data that our single provider model is safe, just as we did with the Third Molar Study. Through my support of the Foundation I’m supporting the continued growth of our specialty. I think that R.V. would have approved.”