July 4, 1956 – Jan. 10, 2023
Grace E. Dean, an associate professor and researcher at the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, died unexpectedly Jan. 10. She was 66.
Born in Rochester, one of eight children, she earned her registered nursing degree from Monroe Community College, then received a bachelor's degree in nursing at Alfred University.
She went on to complete a master's degree in adult health and oncology from California State University in Los Angeles and her doctorate in nursing, adult health and oncology at University of California, Los Angeles. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology and School of Nursing at University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Dean began as a staff nurse at Genesee Hospital in Rochester, then was a nurse in critical care, community health, rehabilitation and as an industrial nurse in the Rochester area and in Los Angeles.
She worked nearly three years at the PennMedicine Center of Sleep and Circadian Respiratory Neurobiology in Philadelphia before coming to UB in 2006.
Her research at UB aimed at improving quality of life and symptom management, focusing on sleep disturbances and fatigue in lung cancer patients.
At the time of her death, she was leading a five-year $2.2 million study on a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research into the effectiveness of behavioral therapy in treating insomnia among cancer survivors.
Dr. Dean was widely published and gave presentations at national and international meetings. She also served the Oncology Nursing Society as a manuscript reviewer, editor, grant reviewer, expert panel member and research liaison.
She received the Jean Kimber Brown Faculty Scholar Grant from the UB School of Nursing in 2014 and 2019 and the UB Nursing School Dean's Award for Excellence in Research in 2014 and 2019. She also was given the Susan Baird Excellence in Clinical Writing Award in 2019 from the Oncology Nursing Society and the UB Nursing School's Ellen Volpe Memorial Award for her treatment of insomnia in cancer patients.
In an online tribute following her death, UBNow noted that her "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."
Surviving are five sisters, Veronica Thacker, Joan Dean, Christine Dean, Rita McCarthy and Francine McAndrew; and a brother, Michael.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Joseph University Catholic Church, 3269 Main St.