Kara B. Dassel, PhD, FGSA, FAGHE
  • Professor, College Of Nursing

Research Summary

My research in dementia advance care planning focuses on the LEAD Guide(Life-Planning in Early Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia), which is being used in an ACP intervention studies. As Co-I of the Utah Geriatrics Education Consortium (UGEC), I have led the development and evaluation of: ADRD online training modules for LTSS, multiple dementia caregiver conferences, and educational “Fireside Chats” with focused on the 4Ms of Age-Friendly Health Care (visit https://utahgwep.org for more info).


  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Taylor University, Upland, IN
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Gerontology, University of Kentucky, Lexington. Project: "The Impact of Caregiver Executive Skills on Reports of Spousal Daily Functioning"
  • Post-doctoral fellowship, Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ


Kara Dassel, Ph.D., FGSA, FAGHE, is a professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. Dassel earned her doctorate in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Dassel is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Academy of Health Science Educators. Her research interests focus on Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD), end-of-life care planning, and caregiver health outcomes. Her team created an advance care planning conversation guide, known as the LEAD Guide (Life-Planning in Early Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias), which serves as the foundation for an NIA-funded clinical trial aimed at promoting engagement in advance care planning in community-based AD/ADRD dyads. Her future goals include expanding her clinical trial research into palliative care settings. Dr. Dassel is the Director of the Utah Geriatric Education Consortium, an interprofessional geriatrics training program. She is a member of the editorial boards of The Gerontologist, Educational Gerontology, and the Journal of the Academy of Health Science Educators. On a community level, Dassel has served on the professional advisory board of State Chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association since 2015.   


Career Highlights

Assistant Dean, Gerontology Interdisciplianry Program (2021-2023)

Program Director, Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program (2013-2017)

Co-I of the Utah Geriatric Education Consortium (UGEC) since 2015

Fellow Status in the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), and UofU Academy of Health Science Educators (AHSE)

PI on an NIA R01, Alzheimer's Association Research Grantt, Teaching and Learning Technologies Online Program Development  Grant, Center on Aging Pilot Grant, Burton Foundation Grant

Editorial board member on The Gerontologist and Educational Gerontology

Board Member of State Chapters of the Alzheimer's Association since 2015