Dennis A. Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell serves as the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement for Columbia University in the City of New York and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity for the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CDM).  In his role as Vice Provost, he is responsible for leading the University’s ongoing commitment to attract, advance, and retain a diverse faculty.


Dr. Mitchell implements the program elements of the University’s ongoing $100 million financial commitment to enhance the diversity of the faculty, and works with the leaders of each of Columbia’s Schools to evaluate and strengthen their diversity initiatives, in addition to chairing the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity.  In his role as Senior Associate Dean for CDM, Dr. Mitchell is responsible for the dental college’s diversity programs targeted for underrepresented minority student enrollment and development, including serving as the Co-Principal Investigator for Columbia’s Summer Medical and Dental Education Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Co-Principal Investigator for the Summer Public Health Scholars Program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Together, these two pipeline programs bring over 125 young scholars from underrepresented groups to the Columbia campus each summer.  Dr. Mitchell has a joint appointment as a Professor of Dental Medicine (at CUMC) in the Division of Community Health, Section of Population Oral Health, and the Division of Periodontics, Section of Oral and Diagnostic Sciences.

Dr. Mitchell previously served as the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs for CDM for twelve years, including six years as the Institutional Project Director for the American Dental Education Association’s Minority Dental Faculty Development Program at CDM, a collaboration of the five New York State academic dental centers funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Prior to that, Dr. Mitchell served as the Director of the Harlem component of the Community DentCare Network for Columbia, and the Director of Research and Community Dentistry at the Harlem Hospital Center Department of Dentistry for nine years.  In this role, he was responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of Columbia’s offsite dental service programs in Harlem, now responsible for over 20,000 patient visits annually.

Dr. Mitchell began his research career at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine as a clinical investigator studying the Oral Manifestations of HIV Disease in Different Risk Groups.  He then studied the Effects of Periodontal Therapy Intervention on Preterm Birth, and served as the Co-Principal Investigator for the enrollment site at Columbia University for the NIH/NIDCR-funded Obstetrics and Periodontal Therapy (OPT) multi-center randomized clinical trial.  His current research interests include the Oral Health Status of Minority Children and Adults in Northern Manhattan and the elimination of oral health disparities in underserved communities.

Dr. Mitchell’s wide-ranging professional activities have led to his selection for numerous awards and speaking engagements, including acknowledgement for his Outstanding Contributions to Health Professions Education at a meeting of the National Association of Minority Medical Educators’ Northeast Region, and the OPT research team was selected to receive the American Academy of Periodontology’s Clinical Research Award.

Dr. Mitchell received his B.A. degree in Neurobiology and Behavior from the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences in 1986.  He received his D.D.S. degree from the Howard University College of Dentistry in 1989, and his M.P.H. degree in Executive Health Services Management from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 1996.

To learn more about Professor Mitchell's research and scholarly work, visit his faculty webpage.