Barbara Goldoftas, PhD

Current roles

Dr. Goldoftas is a core faculty member and an associate professor.


  • BA in botany from University of Michigan
  • MS in science communications from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • PhD in environmental health from the Boston University School of Public Health


Before joining the core faculty at Bastyr University in 2015, Dr. Goldoftas taught in the interdisciplinary International Development, Community, and Environment Department at Clark University in Worcester, MA, where she developed a group of courses on community and public health and their environmental and social determinants. Dr. Goldoftas came to public health from an earlier career as a science journalist with significant international experience. Her writing often focused on emerging health problems, such as ergonomic conditions across blue- and white-collar industries, particularly the auto and poultry industries; community-based HIV/AIDS education for sex workers in the US and Philippines; and the determinants of “natural” disasters and their consequences. She is the author of The Green Tiger: The Costs of Ecological Decline in the Philippines (Oxford University Press, 2006), which analyzes the social, political and economic causes of the rapid destruction of the Philippines’ once-abundant natural resources — and the far-reaching costs. She taught science writing at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wellesley College.

Classes Taught

Social Determinants of Health, Global Health Issues and Interventions, Environmental Determinants of Public Health, Health Education: Program Planning and Implementation 


Dr. Goldoftas became interested in the global rise of non-communicable diseases when she observed them emerging in Southeast Asia. In her current research in Nicaragua, she has used epidemiologic and qualitative methods to study environmental and social determinants of type 2 diabetes in a rural province where it is a leading causes of hospitalization and death. In both her research and teaching, she draws on innovative, community- and place-based approaches that address disparities in health, their underlying causes, and opportunities for prevention. Dr. Goldoftas has taught in many contexts, and she finds it a privilege to teach, advise and mentor students. In addition to her training in public health, she brings to the classroom her professional expertise as a writer and researcher, broad intellectual interests, an interdisciplinary and international perspective and grounding in concrete problems and the institutions that work with them.


Dr. Goldoftas prefers an active, hands-on approach to teaching and learning, and she believes that a classroom should be a place that is collaborative, supportive, and experimental. 

Barbara Goldoftas, PhD

Barbara Goldoftas, PhD

Barbara Goldoftas, PhD
School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences
Department of Public Health