Dana Fender, DMD, was named as a partner with Thurston Group, a private equity firm that Fender partnered with to found Smile Doctors.

Thurston Group, a private equity firm focused on investments in healthcare and related business services sectors, named Smile Doctors co-founder Dana Fender, DMD, as a partner.

Fender will be responsible for the development and relationship management of the firm’s physician practice management companies.

Areas of focus include clinical leaders, research endeavors, and practice growth opportunities.

Fender will also use his clinical and operational experience to provide strategic oversight to Thurston Group’s portfolio companies’ clinical integration and affiliation programs.

Before joining Thurston Group, Fender partnered with the firm to co-found Smile Doctors, the nation’s first specialty platform serving orthodontists, where he has served as chief clinical business development officer since 2015.

Fender also co-founded the SGA Dental Partners dental service organization. Currently, he serves on the board of directors for 3 Thurston Group partner companies: National Dental Healthcare REIT, SGA Dental Partners, and Gen4 Dental Partners.

“As the first private equity firm to innovate specialty DSOs, we attribute much of our success to being doctor-centric,” said Daniel Davis, Thurston Group managing director. “Bringing in Dr. Fender in a leadership role shows the deep respect we have for our valued doctor partners and their needs.”

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