Lauren Clark, PhD, RN, FAAN

Position Title
Associate Dean of Academic Programs; Shapiro Family Endowed Chair in Developmental Disabilities Studies; Professor

Nurses care for people with developmental disabilities and their families from the beginning—from prenatal care through childhood, adulthood transitions, and ultimately, end of life. While the point of that care is to improve quality of life, we have few ways of assessing whether our care makes a difference in their health and happiness.

The goal of Dr. Clark's research is to address quality of life for diverse and marginalized people, specifically those with developmental disabilities and their families.  She worked with a team of interdisciplinary colleagues and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to devise a free health-related quality of life measure specific to their needs: HRQOL-IDD. Clinicians and researchers can use this measure for self-reported quality of life measurement pre- and post-intervention. 

Another aspect of disability and quality of life is the experience of parents who learn their child has an intellectual or developmental disability. For many, the unexpected news is followed by urgent questions. What can they expect for the future, both for the child and for themselves as parents?  How will they integrate this experience into a meaningful life? Based on a grounded theory study of parents of a child 1-3 years old with Down syndrome, Dr. Clark’s research team is developing videos to share with new parents the process of restoring hope after diagnosis.

Dr. Clark’s current research brings together her long-standing interest in quality of life with reproductive health. She’s forming research collaborations and community partnerships to consider another important question:  How can nurses and healthcare systems facilitate the reproductive goals and supported decision-making of women with intellectual and developmental disabilities?


Faculty Research and Clinical Expertise

Research: health-related quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disability; family health and disability; qualitative research methods. 

Clinical:  public health, global health, and maternal-child health; population health of diverse and marginalized populations


Honors and Awards


Jo Eleanor Elliott Leadership Award

Western Institute of Nursing



Excellence in Teaching Award

University of Utah College of Nursing



Fellow, Academy of Health Science Educators

University of Utah



Presentation of Distinction, Complexity in instrument development: Designing a health-related quality of life measure for people with intellectual disabilities

Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, 2014 Annual Conference Committee



Transcultural Scholar

Transcultural Nursing Society International



Fellow, Western Academy of Nursing

Western Institute of Nursing



Mentor Award

Sigma Theta Tau, Gamma Rho Chapter



Fellow, American Academy of Nursing

American Academy of Nursing



Dean’s Teaching Award

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing Denver, CO



Fellow, Society for Applied Anthropology

Society for Applied Anthropology



Anna M. Fillmore Award for Community Service, Recognized for establishing the Public Health Nursing Outreach for New Americans, a faculty practice


National League for Nursing


Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

College of Nursing, University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ



Florence Hemley Schneider Women’s Studies Dissertation Award

University of Arizona and the Southwestern Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) Tucson, AZ


Publications (highlights)

Book chapters

Morse, J.M. & Clark, L. (In press).  The nuances of theoretical sampling.  In A. Bryant and K. Charmaz (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage Inc.

Morse, J. M., Cheek, J., Clark, L. (2018). Data-related issues in qualitatively-driven mixed-method designs: Sampling, pacing, and reflexivity. In U. Flick (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection. London: Sage Inc.

Clark, L. (Ed.)(2014). Research with Diverse Populations, available from Salt Lake City, UT:  University of Utah Libraries. Available in OCLC’s WorldCat and University of Utah online library catalogue.

Clark, L., Johnson, S.L., O’Connor, M.E., & Lassetter, J. (2013). Cultural aspects of Latino early childhood obesity.  In C.T. Beck (Ed.), SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Methods, pp. 103-118.  Routledge.

Journal articles (selected)

Litchman, M.L., Tran, M.J., Dearden, S., Guo, J., Simonsen, S., & Clark, L. (In press).  What women with disabilities write in personal blogs about pregnancy and early motherhood:  A qualitative analysis of blogs. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting.  doi: 10.2196/12355

Bekelman T.A., Bellows L.L., Clark L., Thompson D.A., Kemper G., McCloskey M., & Johnson, S. (2018). An ecocultural perspective on eating-related routines among low-income families with preschool-aged children. Qualitative Health Research. doi: 10.1177/1049732318814540

Currie, D. W., Thoreson, S. R., Clark, L., Goss, C. W., Marosits, M. J., & DiGuiseppi, C. G. (2018). Factors Associated With Older Adults’ Enrollment in Balance Classes to Prevent Falls: Case-Control Study. Journal of Applied Gerontology, doi: 0733464818813022.

McCloskey, M., Thompson, D.A., Chamberlin, B., Clark, L., Johnson, S.L., & Bellows, L.L. (2018).  Mobile device use among rural, low-income families and the feasibility of an app to encourage preschooler’s physical activity: A qualitative study. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, 1(2), e10858 doi:10.2196/pediatrics.10858

Nkoy, F., Hofmann, M., Stone, B., Poll, J., Clark, L., Fassl, B., & Murphy, N., (2018).  Information Needs for Designing a Home Monitoring System for Children with Medical Complexity. International Journal of Medical Informatics,122,7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2018.11.011

Bellows, L.L., McCloskey, M., Clark, L., Thompson, D.A., Bekelman, T.A., Chamberlin, B., & Johnson, S.L. (2018).  HEROs: Design of a mixed-methods formative research phase for an ecocultural intervention to promote healthy eating and activity behaviors in rural families with preschoolers.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 50(7), 736-745. doi:10.1015.jneb.2018.02.012.

McLoskey, M.L, Johnson, S.L., Benz, C., Thompson, D.A., Chamberlin, B., & Clark, L., Bellows, L. (2018). Parent perceptions of mobile device use among preschool-aged children in rural Head Start centers.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 50(1), 83-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2017.03.006.

Clark, L. (2017). Offering hope to caregivers is a transcultural nursing opportunity. Transcultural Nursing Scholars Column.  Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 29(1), 112.

Clark, L., Birkhead, A.S., Fernandez, C., & Egger, M. (2017).  A transcription and translation protocol for sensitive cross-cultural team research.  Qualitative Health Research, 27(12), 1751-1764.  DOI: 10.1177/1049732317726761.

Olausson, J., Clark, L., Morse, J., Allen, N.A., Hammer, M., & Grant, M. (2017).  Psychosocial response to new-onset diabetes as a long-term effect of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.  Qualitative Health Research, 27(12), 1816-1827.  doi: 10.1177/1049732317719434.

Clark, L., Pett, M.A., Cardell, E.M., Guo, J., & Johnson, E. (2017).  Developing a health-related quality of life measure for people with intellectual disability.  Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 55(3), 140-153. doi:10.1352/1934-9556-55.3.140

Nygaard, I.E., Clark, E., Clark, L., Egger, M.J., Hitchcock, R., Hsu, Y., Norton, P., Sanchez-Birkhead, A., Shaw, J.M., Sheng, Z., & Varner, M. (2017).  Physical and cultural determinants of postpartum pelvic floor support and symptoms following vaginal delivery: protocol for a mixed-methods prospective cohort study. BMJ Open 7(1), e014252, doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014252.

Matney, S. A., Staggers, N., & Clark, L. (2016). Nurses’ Wisdom in Action in the Emergency Department. Global Qualitative Nursing Research 3, 1-10. doi: 10.1177/2333393616650081

Clark, L. & Ventres, W. (2016). Qualitative methods in community-based participatory research: Coming of age. [Editorial]. Qualitative Health Research, 26(1), 3-4. doi: 10.1177/1049732315617445 

Messias, D.K., McEwen, M.M. & Clark, L. (2015).  The impact and implications of undocumented immigration on individual and collective health in the United States.  Nursing Outlook 63, 86-94. doi doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2014.11.004

Cardell, B., Clark, L., & Pett, M. A. (2015). Measurement Considerations for Achieving Equity in Research Inclusion for Transition-aged Youth with Disabilities. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 30, 36-44. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2014.10.019

Morse, J.M., Clark, L., Haynes, T., & Noji, A. (2015).  Providing cultural care behind the spotlight: Preparing to provide safe nursing care for the 2020 Olympics.  International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(S1), 45-51. doi: 10.1111/ijn.1239

Duncan, K. L., Lassetter, J. H., VanServellen, G., Brown, L. B., Clark, L., Morgan, S., Curtis, S., Alleger, B., Coleman, J., Muffler, A., Miyamoto, S. Z., Mounga, V., Goodwill, R., Cummings, J., & Hanohano, B. (2015). The relationship between select demographic characteristics and body mass index among Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander caregiving adults. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 26(1),31-38. doi: 10.1177/1043659614523998

DiGuiseppi, C., Thoreson, S., Clark, L., Goss, C., Marosits, M., Currie, D., & Lezotte, D. (2014).  Church-based social marketing to motivate older adults to take balance classes for fall prevention: A cluster randomized controlled trial.  Preventive Medicine, 67, 75-86. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.07.004.

Lassetter, J. H., Clark, L., Morgan, S., Brown, L. B., VanServellen, G., Duncan, K., Hopkins, B.S., Alleger, B., Curtis, S., Muffler, A., Coleman, J., Miyamoto, S. Z., Mounga, V., Goodwill, R., Cummings, J., & Hanohano, B. (2014). Health Literacy Among Adult Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Public Health Nursing, 32(1), 15-23. doi: 10.1111/phn.12155. doi: 10.1111/phn.12155

Painter, P., Clark, L., Olausson, J. (2014).  Physical Function and Physical Activity Assessment and Promotion in the Hemodialysis Clinic: A Qualitative Study. American Journal of Kidney Disease,64(3), 425-433. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.01.433

Dunn, G., Hansen, B.L., Egger, M.J., Nygaard, I., Sanchez-Birkhead, A.C., Norton, P., & Clark, L. (2014).  Changed women: The long-term impact of vaginal mesh complications.  Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, 20, 131-136. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000083 

Clark, L. (2014). Sages, storytellers, and scholars.  Transcultural Nursing Scholars Column.  Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 25(3), 314.

Clark, L. (2014).  A Humanizing Gaze for Transcultural Nursing Research Will Tell the Story of Health Disparities. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 25(2), 122-128.  doi: 10.1177/1043659613515722.

Pett, M., Clark, L., Eldredge, A., Cardell, B., Jordan, K., Chambless, C., & Burley, J. (2013).  Effecting Healthy Lifestyle Changes in Overweight and Obese Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 118(3), 224-243. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-118.3.224


Research Interests & Expertise
Development disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities