Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is actively engaged in public health research and training programs in Latin America, and the Health Office for Latin America (HOLA) in Lima, Peru is the home base for many of these programs. Valerie Paz-Soldan, PhD, Associate Professor of Global Community Health & Behavioral Sciences (GCHB), serves as the Director of HOLA or the “Lima Office” as it is commonly known.
Dr. Paz-Soldan and Dr. Richard Oberhelman, Professor and Chair of GCHB, together with a dedicated international research staff, have mentored over 40 trainees from undergraduates to post-docs, from the United States, Peru, and other countries, since the office opened in its current location in 2012. Besides serving as home base in Peru for several NIH-funded training grants, HOLA faculty and staff are involved in many community based research projects on a wide range of topics, including control of insect vector-borne diseases (e.g. using behavioral economic principles to increase community participation in spraying to reduce reduviid bug populations and prevent Chagas Disease), One Health (examining the impact of a new asphalted Inter-Oceanic Highway through the biodiverse Madre de Dios region on abundance and composition of rodent communities), and cancer prevention (evaluating a sustainable screen-and-treat cervical cancer prevention program appropriate for tropical areas of Peru). Many Tulane MPH students have found exciting practicum opportunities working with HOLA faculty and staff.