The Aspen Group Announces Plans to Open the TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence

The Aspen Group (TAG) announced it will open the TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence – a state-of-the-art clinical facility designed to provide comprehensive dental care at no cost to underserved Illinois residents – in early summer 2022.

The new 25,000 sq. ft. clinic – located in Chicago’s West Loop – will include 14 dental care rooms and two surgical suites. It will also offer patients access to the latest dental care technology. The TAG Oral Care Center will be operated by a team of dentists and dental support staff who will serve an estimated 2,500 qualifying patients each year. The free services provided to qualifying patients at the TAG Oral Care Center will include comprehensive dental procedures.

“Our mission has always been to break down barriers to health care and bring better care to more people,” said Bob Fontana, chairman and CEO of TAG. “When we moved our headquarters Chicago in 2018, we knew we wanted to bring that same care to the underserved communities here as well – and we are confident the service provided at the TAG Oral Care Center will help change people’s lives and serve those who, for far too long, haven’t had access to quality dental care.”

New Executive Director Appointed to Lead TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence  
Newly appointed executive director Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Ph.D., CAE, will be part of the expert team tasked with advancing the new TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence. Dr. Frantsve-Hawley trained at Harvard University and has more than 20 years of extensive experience in public health dentistry and research. Prior to leading the Center, she served as director of analytics and evaluation for the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, and previously, she served as the executive director of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor at Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry.

“Oral care is essential to overall health, but the reality is – many people struggle to access routine dental services, allowing potentially dangerous conditions to remain untreated,” said Dr. Frantsve-Hawley. “The TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence will fill this critical gap for thousands of underserved patients in Illinois, and I am certain our work will give both our patients and the providers who we support something to smile about.”

Under Dr. Frantsve-Hawley’s leadership, and in conjunction with a clinical faculty of dentists and dental specialists, the TAG Oral Care Center will educate hundreds of licensed dentists – from independently owned Aspen Dental and ClearChoice Dental Implant practices across the U.S. – in the most advanced dental technologies and clinical procedures.

Illinois Legislators Support Expanded Access to Oral Health
In 2021, the state passed a new law that expanded the opportunity for licensed dentists to provide free care to underserved Illinois residents through education and training programs. Chief sponsors of the new law were Representative Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago) and Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), the Senate’s Majority Caucus Chair.

“I was honored to sign on as lead House sponsor for this important legislation – to put an Oral Care Center in my district,” said Rep. Collins. “This clinic will help fill a massive need on Chicago’s West Side for many veterans and other residents who struggle to access quality dental care.”

“A key pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is health care,” said Sen. Hunter. “Studies show lack of dental care in underserved neighborhoods is associated with problems with people’s overall health. More services in the community, like the TAG Oral Care Center, will help meet the Caucus’ goal of equitable access to medical treatment for everyone.”

A Long History of Giving Back to Communities
TAG has a long, proud history of breaking down barriers to accessing quality, affordable dental care – in local communities and around the world. This includes the company’s Day of Service – which makes free dental care available to U.S. veterans who are otherwise ineligible for dental benefits from the Veterans Administration unless they are 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury, or were a prisoner of war. Since 2014, through the company’s Health Mouth Movement and Day of Service, independent doctors and their dental care teams from Aspen Dental offices across the country have donated more than $23 million in dental care to more than 30,000 veterans and people in need. In addition, the company hosts an annual Overseas Outreach trip, which brings quality dental care to underserved countries around the world through the volunteer services of Aspen Dental doctors and dental care teams across the nation.

“Through the Healthy Mouth Movement, our annual Day of Service, and our Overseas Outreach program, independent Aspen Dental doctors and care teams have provided comprehensive dental care to patients and communities across the country and around the world for nearly a decade,” said Arwinder Judge, DDS, chief clinical officer for Aspen Dental. “Providing better care to more people has been our mission from the start, and the TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence brings that mission to life in a meaningful way, in the heart of Chicago.”

Watch Bob Fontana on the Group Dentistry Now podcast:

About TAG – The Aspen Group
TAG was built on the simple idea of bringing better health care to more people. TAG and the independent health care practices it supports operate more than 1,100 locations in 45 states through its four healthcare support companies: Aspen Dental®, ClearChoice®, WellNow® and ChapterSM. Combined, the companies serve more than 35,000 patients a day and more than 8 million patients each year. TAG is headquartered at 800 W. Fulton Market in Chicago.


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