Graduate students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing come from diverse professional backgrounds and are united in their passion to improve health and transform health care. Students conduct research, sharpen their leadership skills and implement system-improvement projects to address complex health-care issues within regional organizations. The stories below highlight just a few of the school's exceptional students.

Physician assistant, nursing students respond to call for help

Physician assistant, nursing students respond to call for helpSeveral students from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis volunteer at clinic shelters, meet needs in wild fire evacuation areas in Northern California. Read and watch one student’s story about how her classmates responded to her call for help.

Academic Symposium: Research on display

Developing a resource to keep babies safe while sleepingEvery spring, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis hosts a daylong event showcasing students’ diversity of interests and depth of research. This year’s topics include opioid overdose education, prescription fruits and vegetable programs, baby safe-sleeping education and refugee health services.

Pursuing the ultimate in person-centered care

Sheree CrinerNational service runs deep in Sara Delao’ s veins. Belonging to a family of veterans and providing nursing care to those who served in the armed forces, Delao feels called to serve these national treasures.

Academic Symposium 2017

Sheree CrinerEvery spring, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis hosts a daylong event showcasing students’ diversity of interests and depth of research. This year’s topics include mining data to address community health issues, developing technology solutions to improve clinical practice, and researching chronic conditions to uncover solutions and develop interprofessional skills.

Motivated to mentor

Sheree CrinerSheree Criner’s ladder of success in nursing comes from dedication and hard work. Now the master’s-degree leadership student hopes to mentor other women and young African-American girls, so they will have support for and know what is possible in the nursing profession.

From Intel to nursing: doctoral student seeks to bridge gap, improve health care

Khen_RussellKhen Russell, a first-year doctoral student, hopes to bridge the gap between the worlds of technology and health care. The success of health technologies and mobile applications in the future depends on what information is deemed necessary, how that information is managed, how it’s accessed and how it’s used by both providers and individuals.

Academic Symposium 2016

Implicit bias projectEvery spring, graduate students from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis present their scholarly work at a day-long event showcasing the diversity of interests and depth of research. This year’s students, once again, examined topics ranging from acute-care challenges, community health issues, modules for cultural inclusion and ways to improve education for and delivery of quality care.

Overcoming doubts, moving forward with life


Andrea Vega-Breaux’s childhood experiences propelled her toward a career as a nurse. Her dream to advocate for improved health policy drove her to seek a master’s degree in leadership at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.

PITCH-ing in to improve health care practice, understand the community


Rarely do paths cross for UC Davis graduate students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the School of Medicine. A new grassroots initiative attempts to change that.

Motivating past barriers, hoping to be the new norm

Sandra Calderon photo

Sandra Calderon’s drive to succeed started at a young age and gained support from unsuspected sources. Ambition directed her to the U.S. Army. A desire to provide primary care for others within her Hispanic community drove her to pursue a nurse practitioner master’s degree at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and change the expectations of families she serves.

Innovative initiative targets oral health

iFloss graduate students

Failing to provide adequate preventive oral health care for millions of people, today the primary care system is in the midst of transformation bringing new opportunities for providers. So an interprofessional team of graduate students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis developed a new approach to make oral health preventive care more accessible and combat a silent epidemic.

A graduate student’s battle with cancer shapes doctoral work

Robin Whitney and friend

While pursuing her doctoral degree at the School of Nursing, Robin Whitney learned she had cancer. From undergoing chemo to completing a half marathon, her experience shapes her perspective on health care.

2015 Academic Symposium showcases students' work

Academic Symposium

From hospital readmission rates and simulation training to family planning for rural women and pediatric triage assessment, the scope of work undertaken by students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis ranges from clinical to community and from birth to end of life. The 2015 Academic Symposium allows students to showcase their scholarly work and engage with the community.

Pediatric nurse conducts research to help tackle childhood obesity

As a pediatric nurse, Christy Solorio witnesses the effects of the obesity crisis among youth on a daily basis. Now, through her study in the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Master’s Degree Program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Solorio conducts research that could help address some of the causes of the obesity epidemic.

Student develops innovative job shadowing program that brings together medical students and nurses

In her first year as a graduate student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Amy Doroy developed a unique job-shadowing program where medical students spend a day with registered nurses in a critical care unit at UC Davis Medical Center, where she is also a nurse manager. The experience was part of a School of Medicine pilot program, the 2011 Race and Health Institute.

Graduates of the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Program at the School of Nursing utilize their enhanced education and training to affect the interconnected health-care challenges of quality, cost and access, as leaders in their workplaces and in their communities. Read the stories below for a sampling of the impact of the school's alumni. 

Alumna puts her education into practice

Alumna puts her education into practiceSarah Brown Blake, a doctoral Class of 2017 alumna, teaches public health to future nurses in hopes of increasing their excitement to work in that arena and advocate for populations that often lack access to quality care.

From bedside nursing to research, alumnus advances career as health data scientist

From bedside nursing to research, alumnus advances career as health data scientistAldreen Venzon, master’s degree leadership Class of 2017, seeks to improve care at a systems level using health data.

New role provides alumna with new opportunities

Leah MorrisLeah Morris, master’s-degree leadership graduate of the Class of 2013, says her School of Nursing education prepared her to lead an innovative supportive oncology department.

Alumna advances health in San Antonio

Victoria ConluVictoria Conlu, master’s-degree leadership graduate of the Class of 2017, explains how her education prepared her for a new position serving a Texas community.

Two alumnae share their journeys into advanced practice nursing

Sheree CrinerMariel Yapdiangco and Sandra Calderon, both Class of 2016 alumnae of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, share why they chose UC Davis and how the school led them to their positions today as nurse practitioners.

Alumnus enriches his Central Valley community

Enriching communities with strong nurse leaders

Sergio Camarillo, director for patient care services at a Modesto hospital, continues his education in his quest to improve community health.

Alumna builds lifeline for rural nurses

Sheridan Miyamoto

Meet doctoral alumna Sheridan Miyamoto, who was awarded a $6 million federal grant to launch the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and Training (SAFE-T) Center, a telehealth program to train rural nurses in assault exams.

California’s largest hospital provider fosters culture of inquiry

Frances Patmon and Perry Gee

As the roles for nurses increase amid the constantly changing state of health care, nurse-led research moves from the back burner to the forefront. Find out how two alumni from the School of Nursing's inaugural doctoral class guide California's largest hospital provider to chart a new course to improve care for people and care delivery for nurses.

From Peru to UC Davis: A graduate student’s heart for the underserved

Yael Saavedra

Growing up in Lima, Peru, Yael Saavedra recognized her passion to care for the underserved and her drive to achieve a rewarding profession within the health-care community. It was not until she pursued a master’s degree in physician assistant studies at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis that her perspective on both her home country and her role in health care would change profoundly.

Delivering big ideas in primary care to small  communities often forgotten

Sara Marchessault

Sara Marchessault moved from the east coast to Canby, a small, remote community in Northern California with a population of 317 and continued her career as a nurse practitioner. In hopes of enhancing her leadership skills to create change in the health-care system, Marchessault chose the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis to thrive in her profession and deliver better quality care to her community.

Nursing students improve veterans care with innovative dog kennel

Besa, Dion and Jagoda

When nurses Emmanuel Besa, Michael Dion and Lori Jagoda enrolled in the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, they never imagined that canines would play a role in their coursework aimed at improving human health.  Focused on the collaborative vision of the nursing school and partnered with the surrounding community, these students in the Master of Science —Leadership Degree Program soon learned that the answer to a health-care problem plaguing veterans could be found in a container for four-pawed companions.

Veteran seeks new career creating healthy communities

Morales, Hanks,Sanz

Christopher Morales-Phan wasn’t sure what to do with his life after high school, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army to “grow up and figure it out.” Serving as a medic for four and a half years, Morales-Phan worked with health-care professionals who made sure people who needed care received it, regardless of their environment or circumstance. He was especially inspired by the level of care provided by physician assistants and realized he’d found his life purpose. He now plans his future as a physician assistant providing community health care.

The science of caring: doctoral student uses data to prioritize, create processes for better health

Rayne Soriano, nurse and doctoral student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, immerses himself in patient data — from fall rates to the number of hospital acquired infections — which he analyzes to improve quality through updated hospital procedures or staff and resource changes. He also educates nurse managers in the field of health informatics.

Inaugural Class of Doctoral Students Graduates

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis awarded degrees to eight, inaugural doctoral students from the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program in June 2014.  From serving in academic arenas to providing care in local communities, these health-care leaders illustrate how their graduate studies prepared them to make a real difference in health care for all. 

Health-policy executive returns to nursing roots at the UC Davis School of Nursing

Leah Morris felt at a loss when her mother’s grave illness escalated. Although she was a nurse, she was unprepared as she and her father watched her mother slowly die. It was then that Morris, now an alumna of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, decided to refocus her career and serve as a hospice provider to guide chronically ill patients and their families through the stages of dying.

Doctoral student analyzes the impact of body temperature after traumatic brain injury

Lori Kennedy Madden, a doctoral student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, received a prestigious fellowship from the National Institute of Nursing Research to hone her skills as a nurse scientist as she conducts doctoral research on traumatic brain injury. Madden, a member of the school’s inaugural class of doctoral students, is the first School of Nursing student to receive this competitive award.

Health promotion starts early: building health-care systems that are Baby Friendly

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis graduate student Maya Vasquez has a powerful drive to give all people an equal shot at a healthy life, starting from their earliest days and regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Doctoral student examines how mobile technology may enhance the value and quality of health care

Emerging and new technologies, such as cell phones, social media and data management systems, could provide solutions to complex health-care issues. Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing doctoral student Katherine Kim discovers how such technology can improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of health care.

Nurse explores technology to help older adults manage their health from home

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing graduate student and registered nurse Anita Depatie loves technology. So it was a natural step for her to combine that enthusiasm with her experience caring for older adults who are managing their health conditions while still living at home.

School of Nursing alumni collaborate to promote high-quality cancer care

Equipped with enhanced leadership skills and education regarding system-level challenges in health care, the first graduates of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing now put their new knowledge and skills into action in their workplaces and communities.

An inaugural graduate champions health-care quality and safety at UC Davis Medical Center

In his new job, Charley Johnston—an inaugural graduate of the School of Nursing—has shifted his focus from providing high-quality care to individuals to improving the quality and safety of care for everyone in his hospital unit. As a quality and safety nurse champion in UC Davis Medical Center’s burn intensive care unit, he works to prevent hospital-acquired infections among a population that, due to burn injuries, is extremely vulnerable to infections.

Lead by example: doctoral candidate creates opportunities in rural Northern California

As an educator at a Northern California nursing school, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing doctoral candidate Perry Gee recognized his role as a leader within his rural community. He says his experience at the UC Davis nursing school helped him further understand the many ways he can serve his community as a health-care leader to advance health and improve care.

Student addresses communication gaps and cultural disconnects in health care

Oleg Teleten, a registered nurse and a master’s degree student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, hopes to improve health care by breaking down communication barriers between people and health-care providers.

Students use geographic information systems to help food bank connect its clients with healthy food

Less than six months after classes opened at the recently launched Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, students help improve health through projects that help community organizations solve health issues. One class project, for example, uses technology to make it easier for people to easily find accessible, nutritious and affordable food.