Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH

Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH, serves as the Executive Vice President for University Life, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement at Columbia University, and Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. 

In his role as  Executive Vice President for University Life, Dr. Mitchell continues his long standing mission of diversifying the academy at every level. His earliest work at the College of Dental Medicine comprised a united effort including student affairs, admissions, and alumni affairs. 

From President Bollinger’s August 17, 2021 announcement:

“An expert clinician, researcher, and administrator, Dennis has devoted his 30-year career at Columbia to strengthening our community, perhaps most notably through his commitment to fostering an inclusive campus climate for new and rising faculty members. He is a natural leader for University Life’s critical work of building community among the next generation of thought leaders, researchers, and innovators—our students."

"As EVP for University Life, Dennis will draw upon his extensive experience in diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance the mission of University Life: to best serve the needs of Columbia’s students and to engage with them on issues of campus-wide interest and importance, including community citizenship, mental health and wellbeing, inclusion and belonging, sexual respect, and antiracism.”

He has been on the Columbia faculty since 1991 and has shown a deep commitment to the oral health needs of underserved populations in the communities surrounding Columbia. From 2004 to 2021, Mitchell served as the first diversity-focused dean at a U.S. dental school in his role as Senior Associate Dean for Diversity for the College of Dental Medicine. In this role, he led the effort to increase the proportion of historically- underrepresented students in each incoming class from 3% to 20%.

As Senior Vice Provost, he implements the programmatic elements of the University’s ongoing financial commitment (currently totaling $185 million) 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. 

As an academic, he has focused on building programs to diversify the health professions. He previously served as Co-Principal Investigator for Columbia’s Summer Health Professions Education Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and 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.

Mitchell previously served as the Director of the Harlem component of the Community DentCare Network for Columbia, and as Director of Research and Community Dentistry at Harlem Hospital. He oversaw the development, implementation, and evaluation of Columbia’s offsite dental service programs in Harlem, which is now responsible for over 20,000 patient visits annually. 

Dr. Mitchell serves on the board of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and on the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee of the American Dental Education Association. He is the Council of Representatives Chair (ex-officio) and member of the Health Professions chapter for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. He also is a founding member and Columbia University representative for the Faculty Advancement Network.