Dr. Usha Menon Joins UA College of Nursing as Associate Dean for Research and Global Advances

Dr. Menon, who has garnered $20 million in research funding, develops interventions for early detection of cancer in underserved populations.

Dr. Usha MenonUsha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, a recognized expert in health behavior change to reduce health disparities in cancer prevention, has joined the University of Arizona College of Nursing as associate dean for research and global advances.

Dr. Menon, who has garnered $20 million to support her extensive research program, is focused on the development and testing of health education programs personalized to individuals and cultures to increase early detection of cancer, particularly among aging and vulnerable populations.

“People are dying of cancers for which screening tools exist,” said Dr. Menon. “For instance, if cervical cancer is caught early, there is a 99 percent chance of a cure; for breast cancer, a 95 percent chance. Additionally, disparities in outcomes exist among minorities, such as African American and Latina women, who have lower incidence of breast cancer, yet die at a higher percentage than white women. We can do something about these needless deaths.”

Dr. Menon has been consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health and national foundations, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Her studies have been implemented among diverse populations, including African Americans, the Amish community, Chinese American women, Korean Americans, Latinos, sexual minority individuals and aging South Asian immigrants. In Ethiopia and India, her research focus is on a cervical cancer “screen-and-treat” program and identifying genotypes of HPV infection.

Dr. Menon joins the UA from The Ohio State University, where she first served as vice dean, then Centennial Professor of Nursing, director of the PhD and MS in Nursing Sciences at the College of Nursing, and director of community engagement at the Center for Clinical Translational Sciences (CCTS).

Her new role marks a return to Arizona. Dr. Menon previously held an appointment at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University, where she was the Pamela Kidd Distinguished Research Professor, co-director of the T32: Training in Health Disparities Science program and director of the Southwest Consortium for Health Promotion and Behavior Change.

Dr. Menon currently serves on the NIH Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section. She is a recipient of the inaugural Investigator with a Brilliant Future Award (2006) from the American Academy of Nursing/Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (2010), was selected as a Top 100 Alumni Legacy Leader by Indiana University School of Nursing (2014) and was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame (2014).

Born and raised for the first 20 years of her life in India, Dr. Menon’s first degree is in English literature, and she is a published fiction writer. She credits her funding success to her love of writing and storytelling.

“When you write a grant proposal, it’s exactly like telling a story,” said Dr. Menon. “You are convincing your review committee that it is the best, most significant, most impactful idea that has ever been written. Similar to a novel or short story, the first page of your proposal has to grip the reviewer so that when they get to the end of it, they are eager to know more.”