Kara B. Dassel, PhD
  • Interim Assistant Dean, Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program, College Of Nursing
  • Associate Professor (Clinical), College Of Nursing

Research Summary

My research over the past 5 years has resulted in the creation and validation of an end-of-life planning guide known as the LEAD Guide (Life-Planning in Early Alzheimer’s and Dementia). As Co-I of the Utah Geriatrics Education Consortium (UGEC), I have led the development and evaluation of: ADRD online training modules for LTC, eight dementia caregiver conferences, 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, PhD, FGSA, FAGHE is an associate professor in the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. Before beginning her current position, Dassel served as an affiliate faculty member several institutions including: Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University, Center for Gerontology at Western Kentucky University, and Interdisciplinary Studies at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. Her research interests focus on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD)  end-of-life care planning and caregiver health outcomes.

Dassel earned her doctoral degree in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky in 2007. Following graduation, she completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Barrow Neurological Institute located in Phoenix, Arizona. Nationally, she is a Fellow in both the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Dassel is currently a member of the editorial board of the GSA-sponsored journal, The Gerontologist and also serves on the editorial board of Educational Gerontology. She has published in several well-known journals including The Gerontologist, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, and Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders. Dassel serves as the project lead for the ADRD Interdisciplinary and Community Programs section of a federal grant focusing on geriatric workforce education. On a community level Dassel has served on the professional advisory board of State Chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association since 2015.   

Career Highlights

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 Academcy of Health Science Educators (HSE)

PI on an 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 2013