Bayla Ostrach, PhD
Assistant Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Family Medicine

MA, Oregon State University
PhD, University of Connecticut



Bayla Ostrach, MA, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, is a member of the core faculty and coordinator of the Service Learning Internship for the Master’s of Science program in Medical Anthropology & Cross-Cultural Practice. An Applied Medical Anthropologist by training who conducts research designed to result in changes in policy and practice, Dr. Ostrach is a Fellow of the Society of Family Planning and an invited member of the Scholars Strategy Network. She holds memberships in the American Anthropological Association and North American Catalan Society.

Dr. Ostrach’s research focuses on reproductive justice, publicly funded health systems, the ways that structural violence and marginalization contribute to disease interactions known as syndemics (Singer 2009), and the role of intersectional stigma and other forms of injustice in producing or exacerbating health inequality. She began working directly in the field of reproductive health and abortion care in 1999, and has since worked with and volunteered at multiple clinics in Oregon, Connecticut, and Catalunya.

Dr. Ostrach conducts ongoing fieldwork primarily in Catalunya. Her work focuses on publicly funded reproductive health care and popular engagement with the movement for Catalan independence, as it intersects with commitment to protecting health care for immigrants. She also works with patients and staff of health care facilities in the United States that provide abortion and other reproductive health services.

With Shir Lerman and Merrill Singer, she is the co-editor of a forthcoming volume on stigma-linked syndemics. She has co-authored multiple publications on syndemics, and has single-authored and co-authored publications on reproductive health care access and policy. Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled, Health Policy in (a) Crisis: Access to Publicly Funded Abortion in the Context of Austerity, is under contract with Routledge Press.

2015 Berger-Marks Foundation Edna Award for Social Justice: Finalist
2015 National Society of Collegiate Scholars: Distinguished Faculty Member
2013 University of Connecticut Medical Anthropology Forum Fund Dissertation Grant: First Recipient
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Singer M, Bulled N, Ostrach B, Mendenhall E. Syndemics and the biosocial conception of health. Lancet. 2017 Mar 04; 389(10072):941-950. PMID: 28271845; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30003-X;.
  2. Ostrach, Bayla. This Tangled Web of Reproductive Morbidity Risk: Abortion Stigma, Safety and Legality. Frontiers in Women's Health. 2016; 1(2):online. View Publication
  3. Ostrach B., Houston A., Singer M. . Insularity & Impenetrability – What Happens to Health Funding and Policy When Voters Can’t Reach Lawmakers. Society of Medical Anthropology Newsletter, Second Opinions. 2016; 4(1):online.
  4. Ostrach B., Houston A., Singer M. . Syndemics & Legislative Outreach: An Experiment in Educating Congress about the Health Effects of War. Anthropology News. 2015; 56(6):e1-e12..
  5. Ostrach B, Matthews J. From Research to Policy Change: Addressing Disparities among Low-Income Women Seeking Abortion in Oregon. Practicing Anthropology. 2015; 37(1):30-34.
  6. Ostrach B . Critical medical anthropology as a roadmap: Understanding access to abortion in the Catalan health system. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 2014; 1(1).
  7. Cheney AM, Ostrach B, Marcus R, Frank C, Ball C, Erickson PI. A culture of future planning: perceptions of sexual risk among educated young adults. Qual Health Res. 2014 Oct; 24(10):1451-62. PMID: 25156216; DOI: 10.1177/1049732314548595;.
  8. Ostrach B, Cheyney M. Navigating Social and Institutional Obstacles: Low-Income Women Seeking Abortion. Qual Health Res. 2014 Jul; 24(7):1006-1017. PMID: 24970251.
  9. Ostrach B. Did Policy Change Work? Oregon Women Continue to Encounter Delays in Medicaid Coverage for Abortion. Anthropology in Action - Journal of Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice. 2014; 21(3).
  10. Ostrach B. "Yo no sabía..."-immigrant women''s use of national health systems for reproductive and abortion care. J Immigr Minor Health. 2013 Apr; 15(2):262-72. PMID: 22825462; DOI: 10.1007/s10903-012-9680-9;.
Showing 10 of 16 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 15 publications over 6 distinct years, with a maximum of 4 publications in 2012 and 2014

YearPublications
20124
20132
20144
20152
20162
20171
In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

abortion access
applied anthropology
health inequality
health policy
publicly funded health care
reproductive health
reproductive justice
syndemics

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Advisor
  • Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
  • Education Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:


85 E. Newton St Fuller Building
Boston MA 02118
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