Profiles in Leadership: Dana Curtis Covey
His proudest professional achievement has been contributions made to far forward care of battlefield injuries. While Dr. Covey has been awarded more than 13 grants, he is most proud of the multimillion-dollar grant that was used for the planning and construction of the Surgical Training Laboratory (STL) at Naval Medical Center, San Diego. “We built this stellar facility to train residents as well as surgical teams tasked to deploy to combat zones. They are able to practice emergency procedures on mannequins or cadavers, and as a result are better prepared to intervene and save the lives of our injured service members.”
Serving as the senior orthopedic consultant for the U.S. Navy, Dr. Covey mentored and assigned Navy orthopedic surgeons worldwide. “In this role, I had to ensure that the Navy and Marine Corps had the orthopaedic support they needed. I also had to decide who deploys where and what skills were needed in what location (a ship or forward surgical team, for example). It was vital that I assign deployments in as fair of a manner as possible.”
Indeed, asked what his civilian surgeon colleagues might not understand about being a military orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Covey states, “Military orthopaedic surgeons are uniquely aware of the toll prolonged family separation takes on those at home, and on the deployed family member. With the average deployment lasting an average of 7-12 months, it means a lot of missed family bonding opportunities such as birthdays, Christmases, etc. The truth is that the deployments are always hardest on the ones at home because of the uncertainty involved. While orthopaedic surgeons are not Seals kicking down doors, we may still be in danger at certain times.”
Now retired from the Navy, Dr. Covey and his family no longer have such concerns. “My wife of 34 years and I have four children, three daughters in their 20s and a son in high school. We have had the opportunity of living in different places at home and abroad and thus have had the great fortune of exposing our children to different people and cultures. My wife and I enjoy bicycling, hiking, and traveling, and are planning to take our son to Colonial Williamsburg for the first time.”
Captain Dana C. Covey…a profile in duty, honor, patients and country and an example for all future leaders in this magnificent community of orthopedic caregivers.