Brenda L. Luther, PhD, RN portrait
  • Director Care Management Programs, Con Nursing
  • Fellow Academy of Health Science Educators, Office Of Sr Vp Health Sci
  • Professor (Clinical), College Of Nursing

Research Summary

Dr. Luther's research started with investigating how families of children with disabilities develop health promotion beliefs. She has researched vital roles & responsibilities for Care Managers; participated in research focused on interdisciplinary team communication to support quality health planning for clients & clinicians. Now she has expanded into examining how to screen and refer for social support & needs (social determinants of health) vital to optimal self-care management.


  • Master's of Science, Nursing, University of Utah. Project: Successful Transition to Adulthood for Children with Physical Disabilities
  • PhD, Nursing, University of Utah. Project: Food and Physical Activity for School-Age Children with Spina Bifida


Brenda Luther, PhD, RN is a Professor at the College of Nursing and within the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program at the University of Utah.  Dr. Luther teaches courses in primary care, care management, evidence-based practice and health promotion.

Dr. Luther's clinical speciality is disability care and care management, working clients and families in community settings.  She started her career in care coordination at Shriners working with public, private and non-profit agencies to bring about coordinated and connected services for children in the Intermountain West. Her research interests are primary care, care management, successful transition to adulthood for children with disabilities, and most recently researching how healthcare systems measure and refer for social support services.

Luther has researched and published in the areas specific to children with physical disabilities including: promoting successful transition to adulthood, family caregiving, health promotion and self-care. Most recently, she is a member of a research team investigating how best to screen and refer for social needs.

She is active in professional organizations including American Association of Ambulatory Care Nurses and the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses where she has served on the national editorial board since 1999 and acted as guest editor for a special edition related to the how nursing is vital to Affordable Care Act.

She earned her Master of Science in Community Health and Family Nursing (1999) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (2010) from the University of Utah where her research was focused on preventing overweight and obesity for school-age children with spina bifida by investigating family capacity to include health promotion as well as disease care in a complex health environment.  She was an American Nurses Foundation 2009 Sanofi-Pasteur PhD Fellow.

Dr.Luther has been awarded the Heart and Hand Award from the Utah Philanthropy Organization in 2015 for her work with care management for refugee Population at Utah Human Rights Project. She has been awarded the 2019 Research Collaboration Award from the University of Utah, College of Nursing in 2019 and awarded the Excellent in Scholarship and Research Award in 2021 as well as the Excellent in Mentorship from Sigma Theta Tau in 2021. 

Career Highlights

Dr. Luther started her career in care coordination at Shriners and has continued to investigate her clinical interests of care management, primary care, community health care, chronic illness and factors of social support affecting successful self-care skills for vulnerable clients and their families. A recent career highlight was as an invited speaker to the American Association of Care Managers to speak on her recent research about what leaders in healthcare are calling out as the vital roles of care managers in new helping our clients and families attain optimal self-care management.