Published January 12, 2023
Grace Dean, a professor in the School of Nursing, died Jan. 10. She was 66.
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.
Early on, her team conducted research aimed at elucidating predictors of and identifying significant patterns in the experience of sleep disturbances and fatigue in patients with lung cancer. That work 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. She was widely published throughout her career and presented her research at national and international meetings.
Dean’s dedication to the nursing profession and improving care for cancer patients and survivors was demonstrated through her professional service with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including as a member of the NIH Center for Scientific Review Clinical Management of Patients in Community-Based Settings study section and an ad hoc reviewer for the NIH-NINR study section.
She has also served as a manuscript reviewer, editor, grant reviewer, expert panel member and research liaison for the Oncology Nursing Society.
Dean was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, among tham a predoctoral fellowship in social and behavioral sciences through the American Cancer Society – California Division; the School of Nursing’s Ellen Volpe Memorial Award in recognition of her brief behavioral treatment for insomnia as an intervention for cancer patients; and the Susan Baird Excellence in Clinical Writing Award from the Oncology Nursing Society. She was a two-time recipient of the Jean Kimber Brown Faculty Scholar Grant from the School of Nursing.
Dean began her career as a staff nurse at Genesee Hospital in Rochester, then went on to work as a nurse in critical care, community health, rehabilitation, clinical research, and as an industrial nurse.
Dean was also an assistant research scientist and senior research specialist at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology.
She received an AAS in nursing from Monroe Community College; a BSN from Alfred University; an MSN in adult health and oncology from California State University, Los Angeles; and a PhD in nursing, adult health and oncology from UCLA.
Dean was a highly respected and loved colleague, mentor and friend, whose guidance helped to shape the careers of many students, fellow faculty and researchers. She was known throughout the school and the university as a beacon of light and positivity, who lifted the spirits of all she touched with her kind words, optimism and enthusiasm. She will be greatly missed.