Campus mourns loss of Joseph Tepas III, MD

Published: December 27, 2019

Tepas helped establish the pediatric surgery and trauma programs at UF Health Jacksonville.

UF Health Jacksonville and the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville are mourning the loss of Joseph Tepas III, MD, a longtime faculty member who passed away Dec. 20 following a brief stay in hospice. He was 73.

Tepas, a professor of surgery and pediatrics who came to UF Health in 1983, helped establish the pediatric surgery and trauma programs at UF Health Jacksonville. He later chaired the college’s department of surgery for 11 years.

“Dr. Tepas was instrumental in the growth of our organizations over the years,” said hospital CEO and college Dean Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA. “As one of the founders of UF Health Jacksonville’s trauma and trauma flight programs, he spent much of his life making a difference for so many in our community, including patients, their families, the people he worked with here and his colleagues throughout health care across the country. His tireless efforts and meticulous patient care helped save countless lives.”    

Tepas served as chief of pediatric surgery and associate dean for clinical informatics for the college. He was instrumental in the implementation of the hospital’s Epic electronic health record system and served as its chief medical information officer.

He was an active member of multiple national organizations, to which he routinely contributed service and research. His efforts helped build the Florida state trauma system and established a national reputation for the department of surgery and many of its faculty and residents.  

“Dr. Tepas will live on forever in his legacy: skilled surgeon, prolific researcher, educator, mentor and gentleman,” said Marie Crandall, MD, MPH, a professor of surgery. “I am honored to have been able to call him a colleague and friend.”

Robert Luten, MD, a professor of emergency medicine who began at UF Health around the same time as Tepas, reminisces on their time as colleagues.

“We traveled many roads together, as pediatric emergency medicine and pediatric trauma care were in their infancy then, and we both were very involved in their development both nationally and locally,” Luten said.

“Those were wonderful and exciting times, made very special and rewarding by our personal connection,” Luten continued. “I am very saddened by his passing, which marks the end of an era. He will be sorely missed.”

Tepas is survived by his wife, Jeanie, their three children, seven grandchildren and a host of other relatives and loved ones.  

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