Faculty research award renamed for Grace Dean

Faculty and staff smiling and holding awards.

From left: Barbara Zon, Rebecca Lorenz, Darryl Somayaji, Kafuli Agbemenu, Susan Grinslade, Lynda Cessario, Timothy Knab.

Published May 12, 2023

Kafuli Agbemenu, along with other faculty and staff, were recognized for their contributions to the School of Nursing on May 12 during a ceremony held annually during National Nurses Week.

Grace Dean.

Grace Dean, PhD, RN, FAAN, was internationally recognized for her reasearch. She died at the age of 66 on Jan. 10, 2023.

The School of Nursing’s Excellence in Research Award was renamed the Grace E. Dean Award for Research Excellence in honor of the late professor. Kafuli Agbemenu, PhD, MPH, RN, CTN-A, is the first recipient of the renamed award.

A UB faculty member since 2006, Dean’s research focus included quality of life and symptom management, and the development and testing of theoretically guided interventions to improve outcomes for patients with cancer. Her early work elucidating predictors of and identifying significant patterns in the experience of sleep disturbances and fatigue in patients with lung cancer led to a $2.2 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) — UB’s first School of Nursing-led R01 grant — to conduct one of the first studies on the effectiveness of behavioral therapy in treating insomnia among cancer survivors. Dean was widely published throughout her career and presented her research at numerous national and international meetings.

Agbemenu, who received 6 nominations for the award, focuses her program of research on Buffalo-area African refugee women, a diverse, medically underserved community. Recognizing the urgent need for culturally targeted reproductive health education, she has developed culturally and linguistically appropriate contraceptive health education for women using the WhatsApp application. This free resource for information exchange enables providers to deliver critical health education materials and reduces barriers to critical health information.

Agbemenu is one of few experts in African immigrant and refugee reproductive health. As such, the Society of Family Planning, one of the leading US organizations that supports family planning research, has invited Agbemenu to serve as a grant reviewer for their emerging scholar family planning grants and as a member of the education committee (2023-2025). Additionally, Sauti Yetu, a community-based organization that works with African immigrant women and families in the New York City metropolitan area, has utilized her research findings in developing their sexual and reproductive health programming. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also cited her research in International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education: An Evidence-Informed Approach.

2023 Faculty and Staff Awards


Grace E. Dean Award for Research Excellence

Kafuli Agbemenu, PhD, MPH, RN, CTN-A

Mecca S. Cranley Award for Excellence in Teaching

Darryl Somayaji, PhD, RN, CNS, CCRC

Faculty Mentor Award

Rebecca Lorenz, PhD, RN

Clinical Scholar Award

Susan Grinslade, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC

Dean’s Award for Adjunct Faculty Excellence

Lynda Cessario, PhD, CNS, CNE, RN

Dean's Award for Excellence in Staff Performance

  • Timothy Knab
  • Barbara Zon

Media Contact Information

Sarah Goldthrite
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School of Nursing
105 Beck Hall (South Campus)
Email: sgoldthr@buffalo.edu
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