Richard Oberhelman, MD
Professor and Chair, Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
1440 Canal Street, Rm 2216
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 988-2511
Fax: (504) 988-7313 


Research Interests:

  • Probiotic strategies for treatment and control of pediatric diarrhea in developing countries
  • Pediatric tuberculosis in developing countries

Educational Background:

  • MD - University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
  • BA, Biology/Spanish - Rice University

Personal Statement:

I've been a faculty member at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM) for 25 years, and during that time I've been affiliated with the Dept. of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences and the Dept. of Tropical Medicine in the SPHTM and the Dept. of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine. I'm a board-certified pediatric infectious diseases specialist with more than thirty years of experience in applied and clinical child health research with collaborators in places like Peru, Kenya, and Cambodia. Most of my work focuses on infectious diseases causing significant morbidity and mortality in children from resource poor areas, particularly diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and newborn sepsis. Applied research involves evaluating new ways to detect, treat, or prevent important childhood diseases, and some examples from my work include an NIH-funded clinical trial of new diagnostic techniques for pediatric tuberculosis in Peru and an active project evaluating Lactobacillus reuteri, a probiotic or "friendly bacteria", for childhood diarrhea in the Peruvian Amazon.

I'm also very involved in interdisciplinary international research training through two NIH-supported training grants that I lead as Principal Investigator: 1) the "Tulane-Xavier Minority Health International Research Training" (MHIRT) program places undergraduate and graduate students in 9 training sites in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and 2) the "Inter-American Training for Innovations in Emerging Infectious Diseases", a program that builds interdisciplinary teams of postdoctoral researchers from the US and Latin America, working together to develop new interventions to address some of the practical problems related to infectious diseases in developing countries.

Dr. John Mason and I co-teach GCHB 6760 Programs for Health and Nutrition of Women and Children in Resource-Poor Countries, which was offered for the first time in Fall 2014. The course focuses on design of programs and policies for improving health and reducing malnutrition in populations in developing countries, with particular emphasis on women and children.


Selected Publications:


Kyerematen V, Hamb A, Oberhelman RA, Cabrera L, Bernabe-Ortiz A, Berry SJ. Exploratory Application of the Ages and Stages (ASQTM) Child Development Screening Test in a Low Income Peruvian Shantytown Population. BMJ Open 2014; 4:e004132.

Oberhelman RA, Kosek MN, Penataro-Yori P, Paredes-Olortegui M, Connolly E. A Phase One Safety Study of Lactobacillus reuteri Conducted in the Peruvian Amazon: Observations from the Field. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014; 90(4): 777-780.

Paz-Soldan VA, Alban RE, Dimos-Jones C, Powell AR, Oberhelman RA. Patient reported delays in seeking treatment for Tuberculosis (TB) among adult and pediatric TB patients and TB patients co-infected with HIV in Lima, Peru: a qualitative study. Frontiers Pub Heal 2014; 2: Article 281: 1-9.

Martinez L, Arman A, Haveman N, Lundgren A, Cabrera L, Evans CA, Pelly TF, Saito M, Callacondo D, Oberhelman R,  Collazo G, Carnero AM, Gilman RH. Changes in Tuberculin Skin Test Positivity Over 20 Years in Periurban Shantytowns in Lima, Peru. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Jul 22.

Oberhelman RA, Soto-Castellares G, Gilman RH, Caviedes L, Castillo ME, Kolevic L, Del Pino T, Saito M, Salazar-Lindo E, Negron E, Montenegro S, Laguna-Torres VA, Moore DA, Evans CA. Diagnostic approaches for paediatric tuberculosis by use of different specimen types, culture methods, and PCR: a prospective case-control study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2010 Sep;10(9):612-20.

Wolf H, Mendez M, Gilman RH, Sheen P, Soto G, Velarde AK, Zimic M, Escombe AR, Montenegro S, Oberhelman RA, Evans CA. Diagnosis of Pediatric Pulmonary Tuberculosis by Stool PCR. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Dec;79(6):893-898.

Moore DAJ, Evans CAW, Gilman RH, Caviedes L, Coronel J, Vivar A, Sanchez E, Piñedo Y, Saravia JC, Salazar C, Oberhelman RA, Hollm-Delgado MG, LaChira D, Escombe AR, Friedland JS. Microscopic-observation drug-susceptibility assay for the diagnosis of TB. N Engl J Med 355:1539-1550, 2006.

Ramirez-Cardich ME, Kawai V, Oberhelman RA, Bautista CT, Castillo ME, Gilman RH. Clinical correlates of tuberculosis co-infection in HIV-infected children hospitalized in Peru. Internat J Infect Dis 10:278-281, 2006.

Oberhelman RA, Soto-Castellares G, Caviedes L, Castillo ME, Kissinger P, Moore DAJ, Evans C, Gilman R. Improved Recovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from Children using the Microscopic Observation Drug Susceptibility (MODS) Method. Pediatr 118 :e100-e106, 2006

Oberhelman RA, Gilman RH, Sheen P, Cordova J, Zimic M, Cabrera L, Meza R, Perez J. An intervention-control study of corralling of free-ranging chickens to control Campylobacter infections among children in a Peruvian perturban shantytown. Am J Trop Med Hyg 74:1054-1059, 2006.

Moon TC, Oberhelman RA. Treatment of Parasitic Infections in Children. Pediatr Clin N Amer 52:917-948, 2005.

Oberhelman RA, Gilman RH, Sheen P et. al. Campylobacter transmission in a Peruvian periurban shantytown: A longitudinal study of Campylobacter isolates from chickens and human in household clusters using molecular and serological fingerprinting techniques. J Infect Dis 187:260-269, 2003

Harvey SA, Winch PJ, Leontsini E, Torres-Gayoso C, Lopez-Romero S, Gilman RH, Oberhelman RA. Domestic poultry-raising practices in a Peruvian shantytown: Implications for control of Campylobacter jejuni-related diarrhea. Acta Tropica 86:41-54, 2003.

Montenegro SH, Gilman RH, Sheen P, Cama R, Caviedes L, Hopper T, Chambers R, Oberhelman RA. Improved detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in Peruvian children using a nested IS6110-PCR assay. Clin Infect Dis 36:16-23, 2003.

Oberhelman RA, Gilman RH, Sheen P et. al. Campylobacter transmission in a Peruvian periurban shantytown: A longitudinal study of Campylobacter isolates from chickens and human in household clusters using molecular and serological fingerprinting techniques. J Infect Dis 187:260-269, 2003.

Alvarez M, Oberhelman RA. Probiotic agents and infectious diseases: A modern perspective on a traditional therapy. Clin Infect Dis 32:1567-76, 2001.

Salazar GE, Schmitz TL, Cama R, Sheen P, Franchi LM, Centeno G, Valera C, Leyva M, Montenegro S, Oberhelman RA, Gilman RH , Thompson MJ, Working Group on TB in Peru. Pulmonary tuberculosis in children in a developing country. Pediatrics 108:448-453, 2001.


Courses Taught:



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