Nurses care for people with developmental disabilities and their families from the beginning—from prenatal care through birth, 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 advancing the health and happiness of people with developmental disabilities.

The goal of Dr. Clark's research is to support the autonomy of disabled people and improve their health and quality of life. She works with a team of interdisciplinary colleagues and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Together, they have devised a free health-related quality of life measure specific to their needs: the HRQOL-IDD. Clinicians and researchers can use this measure for self-reported quality of life measurement pre- and post-intervention. Based on a grounded theory study of parents of a child 1-3 years old with Down syndrome, Dr. Clark’s research team developed videos to share with new parents to support them after diagnosis.

Dr. Clark’s current research brings together her long-standing interest in quality of life with preventive care and reproductive health. One study is preparing nurses and healthcare systems to facilitate the reproductive goals and supported decision-making of women with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Another study, in collaboration with Dr. Kristi Westphaln, examines gaps in nurses’ disability competence when they interact with parents with disabilities to fulfill their responsibilities as mandated reporters of child maltreatment. In collaboration with Dr. Dorothy Wiley, a third study in progress uses multiple methods to understand the social constituents of immunization inequities for children with developmental disability. Together, these studies will help nurses make better clinical judgments and humanize care for people with 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. (2019).  The nuances of theoretical sampling.  In A. Bryant and K. Charmaz (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory, pp. 145-166. 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)

Mudrick, N., Blackwell, J., Watts, C., Smith, C., Williams, A., Nielsen, K., Clark, L. (2022). How do states inform nurses of mandatory reporting requirements where child maltreatment may be occurring? Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice, 23(2), 109-117. doi: 10.1177/15271544211072843

Baucom, K.J.W., Bauman, T., Nemirovsky, Y., Gutierrez Chavez, M., Aguirre, M.C., Ramos, C., Asnaani, A., Gutner, C., Ritchie, N.D., Shah, M., & Clark, L. (2022). Promises and pitfalls of dyads in the National Diabetes Prevention Program: Lifestyle coach perspectives. American Journal of Health Promotion. 1204-1207.

Thompson, D.A., Tschann, J.M., Jimenez-Zambrano, A.M., Martinez, S.M., Reyes, G.A., Solis, G.A., & Clark, L. (In Press, Accepted 9/8/2022). Screen-related discord and dismay in low-income Mexican American families with toddlers: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Pediatric Nursing.

Lex, H., Price, P., & Clark, L. (2022). Qualitative study identifies life shifts and stress coping strategies in people with multiple sclerosis. Scientific Reports, 12(6536).

Aguirre, M. C., Brown, H., Gershenoff, D., Hinton, K. L., Huntzinger, O. M., Klein, N., Ramos, C., Tavake-Pasi, O. F., Witte, B., Wolfsfeld, M., Sher, T., Simmons, D., Smith, T. W., Clark, L., & Baucom, K. J. W. (2021). The role of advocacy in adapting the Diabetes Prevention Program for couple-based delivery that reaches marginalized groups. The Behavior Therapist, 43(7), 261-265. PMCID: PMC7853690

Clark, L., & Watts, C. (2021). The journey of humanizing care for people with disabilities. Qualitative Health Research, 31(7), 1199-1208. doi:10497323211000334.

Clark, L., Thoreson, S., Goss, C., Marosits, M., Zimmer, L.M., Flattes, V., & DiGuiseppi, C. (2021). Older adults’ perceptions of a church-based social marketing initiative to prevent falls through balance and strength classes. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 1475-1482. doi:10.1177/0733464820984288

Crawford, A., Hopkin, A., Rindler, M., Johnson, E., Clark, L., & Rothwell, E. (2021). Women’s experiences with palliative care during pregnancy. JOGNN, 50(4), 402-411. doi:10.1016/j.jogn.2021.02/009 

Patterson, B., Clark, L., Sanchez-Birkhead, A.M., Egger, M., & Martinez, L. (2021). Library as a partner in evaluating educational information obtained via the internet. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 109(4), 667-671. doi: 10.5195/jmla.2021.1078

Eaton, J., Cheek-O’Donnell, S., Johnson, E., & Clark, L. (2021). Using ethnodrama to support parents in sense-making after prenatal or neonatal diagnosis of a child’s disabling condition. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21, 1-10. doi 10.1111/jar.12945

Matney, S., Avant, K., Clark, L., & Staggers, N. (2020).  Development of a theory of wisdom-in-action for clinical nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 43(1), 28-41. doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000304

Gonzalez-Pons, K.M., Fukushima, A.I., Gezinski, L., & Clark, L. (2020).  Multiplicity of stigma: Cultural barriers in anti-trafficking response.  International Journal of Human Rights and Health, 13(2), 125-142. doi:10.1108/IJHRH-07-2019-0056

Woodruff, K., Clark, L., Joy, E., Summers, S., Metos, J., Clark, N., & Jordan, K. (2020).  An interpretive description of women’s experience in coordinated, multidisciplinary treatment for an eating disorder. Global Qualitative Nursing Research. doi:10.1177/2333393620913271

Clark, L., Canary, H.E., McDougle, K., Perkins, R., Tadesse, R., & Holton, A.E. (2020).  The family sense-making process after a Down syndrome diagnosis. Qualitative Health Research, 30(12), 1783-1797. doi:10.1177/1049732320935836. 

Pett, M.A., Guo, J., Cardell, E.M., Johnson, E.P., Guerra, & Clark, L. (2020). Psychometric properties of a brief self-reported health-related quality of life measure for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (HRQoL-IDD-15). Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 34(3), 877-890. doi:10.1111/jar.12831

Litchman, M.L., Tran, M.J., Dearden, S., Guo, J., Simonsen, S., & Clark, L. (2019).  What women with disabilities write in personal blogs about pregnancy and early motherhood:  Qualitative analysis of blogs. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, 2(1), e12355.  doi:10.2196/12355

Egger, M.J., Sanchez-Birkhead, A.C., Clark, L., Curiel, R., Garcia, G., Fernandez, C., & Nygaard, I.E. (2019).  Pelvic floor sensations after the first vaginal delivery: A qualitative study. Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery. doi:10.1097/spv.0000000000000742. 

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.

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. 

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

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

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. 

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 

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.