Esther Friedman is a behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her work examines how families, social ties, and communities shape trajectories of health and aging. One body of work is focused on family caregiving and long-term care, including the impact of Medicaid's HCBS rebalancing efforts on health, instiutionalization, and the caregiving workforce, patterns and determinants of family caregiving in later life, and caregiving in the so called “sandwich generation.” A second body of work examines the long-run health consequences of early life family relationships, stress, and adversity. More recent work explores the relationship between neighborhood and community characteristics and cognitive decline among middle aged and older adults. Esther is currently co-leading an NIH-R01 evaluating the effects of a long-term care program intended to increase home-and community-based services on health and health disparities of older adults in the U.S, and is leading a study estimating the future availability of family care for dementia in the U.S.
Friedman earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.A. in statistics from Columbia University. Prior to joining RAND, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University.