Community Foundation for Brevard Awards Dr. Youngmee Kim $120,000 Grant to Support Cancer Research

Community Foundation for Brevard Awards Dr. Youngmee Kim $120,000 Grant to
Support Cancer Research

Research to improve quality of life in Brevard and beyond


MELBOURNE, FLA. — November 16, 2023 — The Community Foundation for Brevard has awarded $120,000 to University of Miami faculty member Dr. Youngmee Kim, Ph. D., to support cancer research. She is a professor of psychology and a Cooper Fellow.

The Community Foundation for Brevard uses a competitive grant process to award medical research grants from the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund and Frank R. Leslie Fund. The program supports research in the fields of Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other pervasive diseases. Since the program’s inception in 2008, the Foundation has granted $997,047 to further advancements in medical research.

In 2023, the program focused exclusively on cancer research with four important areas of focus: social and behavioral interventions for patients and caretakers, public health and awareness, particularly for underserved or underrepresented communities, clinical education, and evidence-based guidance for healthcare professionals for all stages of cancer care. Award recommendations are made by the Community Foundation’s Medical Research Advisory Committee. The advisory committee is a volunteer group comprised of practicing physicians and other health professionals knowledgeable in Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other pervasive diseases. The 2023 Medical Research Advisory Committee includes:

    • Zackary Besner, MD, Internal Medicine Physician, Medical Director of Space Coast Health Centers, Head of Post-Acute Covid Care team, PMC
    • Kim Dean, RN, BSN, CRC, OCN, Cancer Care Centers of Brevard
    • Denise Gangraw, RN, MSN, OCN, BC-NPD, Oncology Clinical Educator/Oncology MSL
    • Jacqueline LaManna, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, BC-ADM, CDCES, FADCES, Associate Professor; Program Director, MSN to DNP Track; Project Director, HRSA ANEW Grant; Department of Nursing Practice, College of Nursing, Academic Health Sciences Center, University of Central Florida
    • Rosemary Laird, MD, MHSA, Geriatrician, Founder, and Chief Medical Officer, Navigating Aging Needs
    • Sharon Leslie, MS, Medical Librarian, Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library, Emory University
    • Lee Scheinbart, MD, CPE, Chief Health Affairs Officer, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine

Kim will receive a $120,000 grant to pursue her proposal, “Sleep intervention for adult patients with cancer and their sleep-partner caregivers.” She is conducting research focused on refining study procedures and measurements to intervene in sleep disturbance of cancer patients and their sleep-partner caregivers and to examine disturbed sleep’s potential effects on poor quality of life.

Preference was given to requests that expand successful evidence-based pilot programs to Brevard County, show collaboration with Brevard County entities, or focus on serving Brevard County Residents. Dr. Kim is collaborating with Cancer Care Centers of Brevard to extend her revolutionary research into the region. Cancer Care Centers will recruit Brevard-based patients to participate in the study.

Kim developed a dyadic intervention, My Sleep Our Sleep (MSOS), to improve the sleep quality of adult cancer patients and their sleep-partner caregivers. MSOS was adapted from a gold-standard psychobehavioral intervention for treating individuals with sleep disorders, which is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine over any pharmacologic treatment.

“Chronic sleep disturbance is linked to various major diseases and death. Thus, sleep disturbance in adult cancer patients and their family caregivers is a substantial health problem, which urgently requires effective ways to improve it,” according to the abstract. “The knowledge gained from this project may have substantial implications for traditional sleep research and telehealth practice with medical populations, shifting the emphasis from individual-to dyad/family-based approaches.”

To support advancements in medical research, Kenneth Finken made a bequest to the Community Foundation for Brevard creating the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund.

“Kenneth Finken had a clear desire and unwavering dedication to  alleviate the devastation caused by these serious diseases, and we are honored to champion his philanthropic vision,” said Theresa Grimison, Community Foundation President and CEO.

Finken was an MSEE graduate of Columbia University and held four patents. He retired from the Government Electronic Systems division of what was then the Harris Corporation.

Leslie, founder of the Frank R. Leslie Fund, graduated from Florida Tech with an MS in Space Technology and was the last system engineer on the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System original ground terminal at White Sands, NM. Inspired by Finken’s philanthropy and in loving memory of his wife who passed from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, Leslie aligned his philanthropic legacy to support pervasive disease research and related programs for caregivers.

“It was an absolute pleasure to know and work with Frank during his lifetime, and we are deeply honored to help steward his philanthropic legacy forward, working closely with his daughter Sharon,” said Theresa Grimison. She added, “The problems we work to solve are big and complicated. The best solutions are borne from the best practice of interconnected philanthropy. Kenneth Finken and Frank Leslie offer our community an ideal model of how together we can  forever improve the quality of life and wellbeing in Brevard and our greater world.”



About the Community Foundation for Brevard

Since 1981 the Community Foundation for Brevard has served as a leader and resource for philanthropic individuals and organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain Brevard’s quality of life. An independent, 501(c)(3) organization, the Foundation provides the expertise, network of partners and information empowering philanthropists to maximize their impact in addressing critical needs and building a community where everyone can thrive. For more information, call 321-752-5505 or visit