Columbia University School Of Dental And Oral Surgery Announces New Dean For Diversity, Multicultural Affairs And Director Of Community-Based Education

New York, NY – July 8, 2004 – Dennis A. Mitchell, D.D.S., M.P.H., has been appointed assistant dean for diversity and multicultural affairs and director of community-based education within the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery (SDOS). As assistant professor of clinical dentistry in the Division of Community Health, Dr. Mitchell has implemented many programs to increase access to oral healthcare among disadvantaged populations in Northern Manhattan and across the United States. His new titles are effective July 1.

“I can think of no better person for this position,” Ira B. Lamster, D.D.S., dean of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery says. “The Harlem community and the School of Dental and Oral Surgery have both benefited from Dr. Mitchell’s energy, talent, and enthusiasm and will continue to do so as he accepts this new role.”

In his new position, Dr. Mitchell intends to continue to develop the support mechanisms for underrepresented pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students, as well as faculty within the dental school. He has an extensive background in community-based dentistry and envisions Columbia’s School of Dental and Oral Surgery as a place offering learn the highest levels of basic sciences education and training in advanced dental treatment, as well as the importance of serving those in greatest need. “The disparity in levels of oral disease between people of color and the impoverished compared to others in the nation is severe. Ultimately SDOS should be a part of the creation of dentists—of all races— who can help to address the need for dental services in those communities.”

Dr. Mitchell is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the National Dental Association and winner of the association’s Community Leadership award. He was profiled in the AETNA Inc. 2004 calendar of Distinguished African Americans in Dentistry. Last year, Dr. Mitchell was one of six health experts on a panel assembled on Capitol Hill to address Congressional and Senate representatives regarding the “Health Care Equality and Accountability Act.” In his role as director of the Harlem component of the Community DentCare Network at SDOS, he was instrumental in establishing a community-based dental service program that offers Harlem and Washington Heights residents increased access to quality dental services.

Dr. Mitchell received his B.A. from Cornell University and his D.D.S. from Howard University College of Dentistry. Also a graduate of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health with an M.P.H. degree, Dr. Mitchell won the chief resident award at the Harlem Hospital Center Department of Dentistry and both a community leadership award and an outstanding achievement award from the National Dental Association.

Dr. Mitchell first joined Columbia’s faculty as a clinical instructor in the Division of Periodontics, went on to become a clinical examiner through an NIH grant, director of research and community dentistry at Harlem Hospital Center, and assistant professor of clinical dentistry at SDOS. He was also a W.K. Kellogg Foundation community health services fellow at the Columbia University Center for Community Health Partnerships and a consultant for the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Mitchell is a member of the House of Delegates for the National Dental Association, and former president of the Greater Metropolitan New York Dental Society. He has participated in more than eleven research grants and co-authored more than a dozen publications.

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*Located in New York City, Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic and clinical research, medical education, and patient care. The medical center includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, and other health professionals from the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the School of Dental & Oral Surgery, the School of Nursing, the Mailman School of Public Health, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Some of the 20th century's most significant medical breakthroughs were achieved here, including the first blood test for cancer, the first medical use of the laser, and the first successful transfer of genes from one cell to another. This pioneering tradition continues today through 24 departments and many specialized research centers and institutes.

**The School of Dental and Oral Surgery (SDOS) at Columbia University Medical Center, founded in 1917, is located in northern Manhattan. In addition to providing education programs for pre- and post-doctoral candidates, SDOS conducts research in state-of-the-art facilities and oversees an extensive community-based service program for residents in the surrounding community – a federally designated medical and dental manpower shortage area. Outreach into the community includes dental programs in seven area public schools, a dental van, and three off-site community-based dental clinics, providing state-of-the-art care to an underserved population as well as a rich learning environment for students at SDOS. Visit us on the web:


Mailman School, National Dental Association, Northern Manhattan, SDOS