Faculty Staff Students

School of Dentistry launches ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training program3 min read

May 17, 2024

School of Dentistry launches ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training program3 min read

Ann Arbor, Mich., May 17, 2024 – The School of Dentistry recently launched a new program to positively impact the mental health and well-being of the members of its community.

The goal of the Mental Health First Aid Program is to offer mental health and suicide prevention training for students, staff and faculty at the school. 

Dr. Marcia Campos, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, is serving as faculty lead for the program based on her leadership and advocacy with dental students and her participation in the university-wide Faculty Well-being Collective Initiative. Gail Oljace, Department Administrator for Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, is serving as staff lead based on her involvement with the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Multicultural Affairs Committee (DEI-MAC) and other school initiatives.

“This program will make a difference for our students and our school community as a whole,” Campos said. “We need to normalize discussions about mental health and take actions towards promoting a safe and non-judgmental environment for our community.” 

A group of people sit across from each other at a long rectangular desk.
Staff and faculty participate in the initial session of the Mental Health First Aid program.

Campos said the idea for this training came from former dental school Dean Laurie McCauley, now provost of the university; Lynn Johnson, the school’s former Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness; Renee Duff, the school’s Associate Dean for Students; and many others members of the leadership team. Campos said faculty member Jan Hu, while serving as Interim Dean, helped secure formal funding from the U-M Provost’s Office, and the current Dean, Jacques Nör, has supported the project.

The dental school is one of the first units on campus to launch this training program. The new course aligns with the recently announced commitment to the health and well-being of the U-M community emphasized in Vision 2034 and detailed in the Well-being Collective’s Common Agenda.

Training sessions began in April and have included students, staff and faculty. The first sessions have been facilitated by A Smith Associates, a local consulting firm that includes two certified trainers: Daicia Price, Clinical Associate Professor at the U-M School of Social Work, and Andrea Smith, Director of Clinical Practice Improvement at the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority.

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based, early-intervention course, administered by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, using community-specific scenarios, activities and videos to teach the skills needed to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges as well as how to provide initial support until professional help is available.

Attendees of the training will be certified for a period of 3-years in both Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention.


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral healthcare education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.  Contact: dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.