Dr. Dennis Mitchell Receives ADEA’s Distinguished Service Award at 2022 ADEA Annual Meeting


Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH
Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH

Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, received ADEA’s premier award—the ADEA Distinguished Service Award. The ADEA Board of Directors presents this award to an ADEA member who has made an extraordinary contribution to dental education through research, teaching or service. Dr. Mitchell is the Executive Vice President (EVP) for University Life and Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement at Columbia University, and Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

“I’m really only standing here today because of so many heroes and sheroes who reached down to help me.” Dr. Mitchell said, later noting that “without them, I would have gone in to private practice with my uncle. They were instrumental in providing me a path to dental education.”

As EVP, Dr. Mitchell focuses on enhancing the experience of every Columbia University student through programs, partnerships and initiatives that foster core community values of inclusion and belonging, sexual respect, health, well-being and community citizenship. As Senior Vice Provost, he implements the programmatic elements of the university’s ongoing $185 million commitment to enhance the diversity of the faculty, and works with Columbia University’s schools to strengthen their diversity initiatives.

Since joining the Columbia faculty in 1991, Dr. Mitchell has shown a deep commitment to the oral health needs of underserved populations in the communities surrounding the school. From 2004, he served as the first diversity-focused dean at a U.S. dental school as Senior Associate Dean for Diversity for the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, where he led the effort to increase the proportion of historically underrepresented students in each incoming dental class from 3% to 20%.

Funded by the ADEA/W.K. Kellogg Foundation, he served as Columbia’s Institutional PI for the Minority Dental Faculty Development Program. He was also Co-PI for Columbia’s Summer Health Professions Education Program, funded by the RWJ Foundation, and for the Summer Public Health Scholars Program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together, these two student pathway programs bring over 125 underrepresented scholars to Columbia University each summer.

Previously, Dr. Mitchell was Director of Columbia’s Harlem component of the Community DentCare Network and 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.

For more information, visit the 2022 ADEA Awards, Scholarships, and Fellowships page.