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Nancy Hein Covert, DMD, a longtime Dothan resident and University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry alumna, has been named clinical director and lead dentist for the new UAB Dentistry Dothan coming to the Health Center South Medical Tower in Dothan, Alabama, this year. Covert brings more than 40 years of experience as a private practice dentist to her role as clinical director.

Dr. Nancy CovertCovert says the goal of this clinic is to ensure that access to a variety of comprehensive dental services is available to the Wiregrass. The clinic will treat patients of all ages and will provide preventive care, restorative treatments and cosmetic services. She is committed to providing a positive dental experience for her patients with a focus on patient education and preventive and proactive treatment.

“We know the state of Alabama is facing a rural dentistry shortage, and one of our goals through this clinic is to help alleviate some of the gaps in care caused by a lack of access,” Covert said. “We hope our students will see how fulfilling it is to provide oral health care in a rural community and that, in turn, our clinic can become a central place for folks to seek out quality, dependable care.”

UAB Dentistry Dothan is designed to recruit, educate, train and retain dentists to help improve the dental health of those living in the Wiregrass region of the state. The project is supported by a $3.4 million appropriation from the state of Alabama to develop this first-of-its-kind model to address the shortage of dental health providers in rural Alabama.

The clinic will have eight exam chairs and the capacity to conduct more than 10,000 patient visits annually. It will be staffed by UAB School of Dentistry faculty, residents and dental students. One of its aims will be to identify, recruit and prepare the next generation of dentists committed to practicing in rural Alabama.

“We are excited and grateful for the establishment of the first UAB School of Dentistry satellite office, which is located in the Health Center South Medical Tower,” said Marnix E. Heersink, M.D., Dothan Ophthalmologist. “This project is possible only with the tremendous support of the University of Alabama System, the Office of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Senator Donnie Chesteen, Representative Paul Lee, local officials, and other independent entities and individuals. This clinic will play an important role in improving accessibility of dental health care in the Wiregrass area. Under the leadership of Dr. Covert, we look forward to seeing patients across the Wiregrass area being served. This satellite clinic is the culmination of many years of effort, and we are delighted Dr. Covert has chosen to direct the patient care and clinical training it was designed to provide.”

Covert began her dentistry career in Georgia in 1979 as a dental assistant. She moved to Dothan in 1981 and worked as an orthodontic assistant for several years. In 1997, she decided to become a dentist. She attended Troy University and Wallace Community College for her undergraduate studies and earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the UAB School of Dentistry. While at UAB, she received multiple awards and scholarships for her performance, including the Birmingham District Dental Society Award, Alabama Dental Association Student Leadership Award and the Dean’s Medal. She was also the first recipient of the David Greer Endowed Scholarship.

“My time in the UAB School of Dentistry was one of the best experiences of my life,” Covert said. “Every time I return to the school, I get an overwhelming sense of joy and pride, and I leave with a renewed energy that I want to share with our students. I am so honored to be able to help bring this new learning opportunity to our dental students and to introduce my community to UAB SOD.”

To learn more about the new clinic, visit go.uab.edu/dentistrydothan.