DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) – Rural areas continue to struggle with access to dental care, and in Monday’s Dothan Rotary Club meeting this issue was addressed by guest speaker Finis St. John, Chancellor of the University of Alabama System.
“The national average, which is probably low even for the nation, is there should be six dentists for every 10,000 citizens,” Chancellor St. John said. “In this area it’s 1.4 dentist for every 10,000 so there’s a need, and when there’s a need like that we try to help address it.”
According to UAB, a recent American Dental Association study ranked Alabama as 51st in the country for dental care access. Chancellor St. John explained how the UA System is working to change that.
To make strides of providing access to dental care in rural areas, a new UAB Dental Clinic is coming to Southeast Alabama. UAB claims this will be the state’s only school of dentistry in nearly 75 years.
Chancellor St. John said they are hoping to complete this clinic within the next two years.
The UAB School of Dentistry will be on a mission to recruit, train and retain rural dentists, all while providing more than 10,000 patient visits yearly. Care will be provided by faculty, residents and students.
The Alabama legislature and Governor Ivey appropriated $3.4 million to establish the Dothan clinic.
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