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Faculty & Staff Directory

Steve Koester

Email: Steve Koester
Office Location: Admin 270E
Phone: (303) 556-6795
Fax: (303) 556-8501
Office hours: By appointment
Areas of Expertise:
Medical anthropology, political ecology

​Education & Degrees
Ph.D. University of Colorado, Boulder. May 1986.
M.A. University of Colorado, Boulder. 1976.
B.A. University of Denver / University of Colorado, Boulder. 1971


My areas of interest are medical anthropology and political ecology. My primary focus has been on drug use and disease transmission. My work has challenged one-dimensional behavioral explanations of disease transmission through ethnographic studies focusing on the contextual factors that influence behavior including social relations and structural conditions. My work has demonstrated the affect of laws and policing strategies on risk taking and avoidance, and how the social setting in which drug acquisition and use occurs influences the injection process. In 2001 I was a visiting behavioral scientist in CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, and in 2006/2007 I was a Fulbright Scholar at the Hanoi School of Public Health. Currently, I am a co-investigator on a NIDA R0-1 (Robert Heimer PI), testing laboratory simulations of injection practices to determine avenues of HCV transmission, and the Co-PI on a NIDA funded study examining the drug acquisition strategies of methamphetamine using women. I am also working with colleagues at the school of medicine incorporating qualitative research into studies on vaccine acceptance, depression and peripheral arterial disease.

My interest in the political ecology began with my dissertation research examining the consequences of capitalist development on peasants and rural proletarian communities in the Eastern Caribbean. I have has maintained this interest through intermittent studies and consultancies on resource management and poverty alleviation in the Caribbean.


Select Publications

Koester, S.  Commentary on Harris and Rhodes: Discouraging syringe re-use by addressing drug injectors’ everyday suffering.  Addiction. 2012:107(6) 1097–1098.
Miech R, Koester S and Dorsey B. The Increasing U.S. Mortality Rate Due to Accidental Poisoning: The Role of the Baby Boom Cohort. Addiction. 2011:106(4)806-815
Benotsch EG, Koester S, Luckman D, Martin AM, and Cejka A.  The Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs and Sexual Risk Behavior in Young Adults. Addictive Behaviors. 2011:36(1-2)152-155.
Koester S. The Disconnect between China’s Public Health and Public Security Responses to Injection Drug Use, and the Consequences for Human Rights. PLoS Medicine 2008: 5(12):e240.
Koester S, Glanz J and Baron A.  Drug Sharing Among Heroin Networks: Implications for HIV and Hepatitis B and C Prevention. AIDS & Behavior. 2005:9(1)27-39.
Koester S, Heimer R, Baron A, Glanz J and Wei M. Sharing Cookers and Cottons are Surrogates for Drug Sharing. Letter. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2003; 157(4)357.
Blankenship K and Koester S. Criminal Law, Policing Policy, and HIV Risks in Street Workers and Injection Drug Users. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. 2002; 30(4): 548-559.
Sandersen H and Koester S. Co-Management of Tropical Coastal Zones: The Case of the Soufriere Marine Management Area, St. Lucia, WI. Coastal Management 2000; 28:85-95.
Koester S. Copping, Running and Paraphernalia Laws: Contextual Variables and Needle Risk Behavior Among Drug Users in Denver. Human Organization 1994; 53(3): 287-295.