Richard Oberhelman

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:


View Dr. Oberhelman's publications at his NCBI profile page.

Courses Taught:



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GCHB, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2210, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-5391