Population Health Sciences

Associate Professor
Focus: Philosophy/Bioethics

Contact Information
(518) 694-7259

Speaker Request
Barry Decoster, PH.D.


  • Ph.D. Philosophy, Michigan State University 
  • M.A. Philosophy, Michigan State University 
  • B.S. Biotechnology & Humanities, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


  • ETH 310 – Bioethics
  • ETH 315 – Health, Disease, and Authority in Medicine
  • ETH 410 – Special Topics in Bioethics
  • ETH 510 – Health Care and Human Values
  • PSC 671G – Ethics in Research


  • My research interests focus on the areas of bioethics and philosophy of science & medicine (and their overlap). My work is largely in three main areas. First, I am interested in how vulnerable patients (e.g., women’s health; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health; racial minority health) engage and respond to the particular moral needs of their communities. In addition, I’m interested in these communities as “active epistemic agents.”  Second, I’m interested in contemporary virtue ethics. Third, I’m interested in causal and explanatory issues within biomedicine, such as “medically unexplained disorders” like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.


Hennig K, DeCoster B, Chu R, Parker WM, Campo-Engelstein L, Burton-Chase AM. 2018. "Patients Educating Health Care Providers on Lynch Syndrome: A Qualitative Study". Patient Experience Journal, 5(3), Article 12.  

Barry DeCoster and Wendy Parker. "Clinical Relationships and Feminist Values: How OBOS Benefits Collaborative Relationships in Women's Health", Peitha special issue on "Rhetorical Pasts, Rhetorical Futures: Reflecting on the Legacy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and the Future of Feminist Health Literacy."

Saba Malik, Zubin Master, Wendy Parker, Barry DeCoster and Lisa Campo-Engelstein. "In Our Own Words: A Qualitative Exploration of Complex Patient-Provider Interactions in an LGBTQ Population." Canadian Journal of Bioethics 2, no. 2 (July 10, 2019): 83-93. 

Barry DeCoster.  "Pushing for Empowerment: The Ethical Complications of Birth Plans."  Janus Head 17, no. 1 (2019): 72-92 

Barry DeCoster and Lisa Campo-Engelstein. "Expedited Partner Therapy: Clinical Considerations and Public Health Explorations."  AMA Journal of Ethics 18, no. 3 (March 1, 2016): 215-28