Professor of Anthropology (Retired), University of Colorado Denver

Stephen Koester, PhD., is a recently retired as a professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Koester (Steve) has been working with marginalized populations on issues of social justice since obtaining his PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder. He began his career examining the impact of development projects on small farmers and fishing communities in the Caribbean. With the advent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic he shifted his primary focus to medical anthropology and turned his attention to marginalized populations in the United States working primarily in urban environments with people who use drugs and people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Koester employs a critical medical anthropological perspective and uses ethnographic and complimentary qualitative methods to examine the contextual dimensions of people’s lives and the conditions that compromise their health. He frequently collaborates on mixed methods studies as well. His work has led to the identification of previously unrecognized modes of HIV and hepatitis C transmission, and studies demonstrating how the criminalization of drug use and homelessness exacerbates, and in fact, produces harm.

Steve has been a Fulbright scholar in St. Lucia and Vietnam. In 2001 he was a visiting behavioral scientist at the Viral Hepatitis Division of the Centers for Disease Control. He has been the principal investigator of an NIH R0 1, and co-PI and co-investigator on several others. He has consulted with the CDC, Family Health International, the FAO, the Ford Foundation and several state and municipal health departments. Although retired from teaching he is actively pursuing research and recently provided an affidavit in support of Denver Homeless Outloud, a grassroots homeless coalition pressing the city and state for housing and the decriminalization of homelessness.

Recent Publications