Ester Carolina Apesoa-Varano is a professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. As a member of the school’s founding faculty, Apesoa-Varano teaches graduate classes and conducts research in the area of health systems.

She mentors Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group students to develop the skills necessary to lead complex health systems. Her research examines health-care professions and organizational structures with a focus on the role of nurses, health disparities and underserved populations, and teamwork models and interprofessional collaborations in health care. Much of her research is dedicated to geriatric studies to advance health for older people. A sociologist, Apesoa-Varano’s background, experience and research methods add a unique perspective to interprofessional education and research at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Prior to joining the School of Nursing, she was a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences where her research focused on men’s health. Apesoa-Varano was the project manager on the Men’s Health and Aging Study, a four-year, mixed-method study of depression in older men funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, she collaborated on interprofessional and interdisciplinary UC Davis research studies and lectured on organizations, society and sociology.

Apesoa-Varano earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish and Latin-American Literature and Sociology with a minor in Women's Studies at State University of New York, Oneonta, in 1997. She earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento, in 2000 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from UC Davis in 2008. Apesoa-Varano was a Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Scholar, part of a prestigious National Institute of Health program, from 2011 to 2012. The $2.1 million career-development program provides faculty with multidisciplinary training to ensure they establish independent biomedical research careers in areas relevant to women's health and create an environment that nurtures non-traditional interdisciplinary collaborations in focused and interactive research areas that are essential to improving the health of women.

Apesoa-Varano published her first book, Conflicted Health Care: Professionalism and Caring in an Urban Hospital, where she took an intimate look at how health-care practitioners struggle to live up to the professional and caring ideals during 12-hour shifts on the hospital floor. She ahs also publisihed in journals such as Social Science & Medicine, The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Qualitative Health Research as well as peer-reviewed abstracts with the Gerontological Society of America, American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry and the American Sociological Association. More recently, Apesoa-Varano received the 2020 Distinguished Contribution to Sociological Perspectives Award from the Pacific Sociological Association. She has also published her second book, When Older Women Speak: Aging, Emotional Distress, and the Self, where she deeply examines the interaction of gender, class, ethnicity, race and aging in the depression experience of older women.

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