Last Name

Bayla Ostrach, PhD

TitleAssistant Professor
InstitutionBoston University School of Medicine
DepartmentFamily Medicine
Address771 Albany Street
Boston MA 02118
Phone(617) 414-4465
 Awards and Honors

2015National Society of Collegiate Scholars: Distinguished Faculty Member
2015Berger-Marks Foundation Edna Award for Social Justice: Finalist
2013University of Connecticut Medical Anthropology Forum Fund Dissertation Grant: First Recipient
 Research Expertise & Professional Interests
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.

 Self-Described Keywords
  • syndemics
  • reproductive health
  • reproductive justice
  • abortion access
  • health inequality
  • applied anthropology
  • health policy
  • publicly funded health care
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.
List All   |   Timeline
  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.
    View in: PubMed
  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 in: External Website
  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.
    View in: PubMed
  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.
    View in: PubMed
  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.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Singer M, Ostrach B, Evans J. "Pharmapatienthood”: The Patient Constructed in Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising. Anthropology. 2013; 1(101):2332-0915.
  12. Ostrach B, Singer M. Syndemics of War: Malnutrition-Infectious Disease Interactions and the Unintended Health Consequences of Intentional War Policies. Annals of Anthropological Practice. 2012; 36(2):257-273.
  13. Ostrach B, Singer M. At Special Risk: Biopolitical Vulnerability and HIV Syndemics Among Women. Health Sociology Review. 2012; 21(3):258-271.
  14. Singer M, Bulled N, Ostrach B. Syndemics and Human Health: Implications for Prevention and Intervention. Annals of Anthropological Practice. 2012; 36(2):205-211.
  15. Annals of Anthropological Practice. Singer M, Bulled N, Ostrach B (Editors). Special Issue on Syndemics. Wiley-Blackwell. New Jersey. 2012.
  16. Ostrach, Bayla. Health Policy in (a) Crisis: Access to Publicly Funded Abortion in the Context of Austerity.
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