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

Research Summary

My research in advance care planning (ACP) focuses on our team developed LEAD Guide(Life-Planning in Early Alzheimer’s and Dementia), which is being used in an ACP intervention study. 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, PhD, FGSA, FAGHE, FAHSE is an associate professor and Interim Assistant Dean of the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. Dassel earned her doctoral degree in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky. Following graduation, she completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Fellow in 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 related dementias (ADRD) end-of-life care planning and caregiver health outcomes. With funding from the National Alzheimer’s Association, she and her research team are conducting an online advance care planning intervention for persons with ADRD and their family members. Dassel is a member of the editorial boards of The Gerontologist, Educational Gerontology, and the Journal of the Academy of Health Science Educators. She serves as the project lead of Community Education and Outreach for the Utah Geriatric Education Consortium. On a community level, Dassel has served on the professional advisory board of State Chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association since 2015.   


Career Highlights

Interim Assistant Dean, Gerontology Interdisciplianry Program (2021-2022)

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 (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 2015