Barnstone teaches macro-social work practice. Specifically, she teaches students about the American social welfare system and ways to advocate for better laws and programs to serve communities and other groups. She also teaches them research methods for use in documenting problems, strengths, and program impacts. Her own interests focus on the social determinants of health and wellbeing, including health insurance, health care access, neighborhood environment, education, income, and employment, and the norms, and protective and risk factors, including discrimination, inherent in each. Barnstone is an active member of the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NM), involved in task forces related to legislative issues, in general, and behavioral health, in particular.