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Tulane Health Office for Latin America (HOLA)


The vision of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Health Office for Latin America (HOLA), based in Lima, Peru, is to foster and promote collaborative public health research in Latin America between Tulane faculty and their Latin American research counterparts.


The mission is improve global health through research and education of the next generation of public health researchers and professionals.  Through mentorship and opportunities to participate in research projects in Latin America, this office provides faculty and students with unique opportunities to collaborate with Latin American colleagues and on projects based in Latin America.



One aim of HOLA is to serve as a resource and guide for Tulane faculty and students who are interested in initiating research or other types of educational activities in Latin America.  Students interested in summer research opportunities, practicum experiences, and independent study time in Latin America are encouraged to contact the HOLA Director for guidance.


The main research areas being conducted through the Health Office for Latin America focuses on emerging infectious diseases and cervical cancer prevention.  Moreover, some of the HOLA health projects focus on the intersection between human, animal and animal health: planetary health.  Through collaborations with colleagues from multiple disciplines – ecology, medicine, veterinary sciences, geography – our research focuses on health issues within their setting and context. 

Current Funded Research in Peru
  • “Quantifying Heterogeneities in Dengue Virus Transmission Dynamics”. The major goals of this NIH/NIAID funded P01 project are to define key host-level heterogeneities that drive the spread of the mosquito-borne dengue virus. Tulane is one of the leads in Project 2 that focuses on examining the heterogeneity in the perceived symptoms and behavioral responses, including fine scale movement, to dengue.
  • “Improving participation in door-to-door vector control campaigns”. The main objective of this NIH-funded R01 grant is to evaluate three strategies guided by behavioral economics principles to increase community participation in spraying to reduce triatomines and, in turn, prevent Chagas disease. The study is taking place in Arequipa, Peru.
  • “Translating Molecular Diagnostics for Cervical Cancer Prevention into Practice.” The goal of this NIH/NCI funded R01 grant is to move a strong evidence base for the use of HPV-based screening assays into a sustainable screen-and-treat cervical cancer prevention program appropriate for the health care environment in Peru. This study is taking place in Lima and Iquitos.
  • “The effect of anthropogenic perturbation on habitats”. The main objective is to evaluate effects of landscape changes resulting from anthropogenic habitat perturbation – specifically the construction of the asphalted Inter-Oceanic Highway through the biodiverse Madre de Dios region - on abundance, distribution, species diversity and composition of rodent communities. As part of this project, we are also examining the vulnerabilities and quality of life of individuals living along the Inter-Oceanic Highway.
  • “Inter-American Training for Innovations in Emerging Infectious Diseases”. The goal of the program is to build teams of interdisciplinary researchers who can creatively and sustainably address challenges of emerging infectious diseases through development of low cost-effective tools. This NIH/Fogarty Center funded training grant funds post-doctorates from diverse disciplines to work together.
  • “Tulane-Xavier Minority Training in International Health”. This goal of this school wide training grant funded by the NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities is to to provide training opportunities in international health for minority undergraduate and graduate students

Tulane Researchers

Valerie A. Paz Soldán, PhD, MPH
Director, Tulane Health Office for Latin America
Associate Professor, Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences
Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Calle Perez Roca 148A, Dpto 301, Barranco
Telf: (+51-1) 418-7404
Celular: (+51) 94020-6810Skype: vpazsoldan

Affiliated Tulane Researchers Working In Latin America

Current Affiliated Post-docs, Research Associates, and Students

Joanna Brown
Alejandra Bussalleu
German Comina
Stella Hartinger
Gustavo Hernandez
Kelly Jensen
Gwen Lee
Molly Mastel
​Nehal Naik
Christina O’Neal
Amy Powell
Gabriela Salmon
Liz Tracy

Recent Publications from HOLA and collaborations (student mentees underlined)

  • Oberhelman R, Anticona Huaynate C, Correa M, Mayta Malpartida H, Pajuelo M, Paz-Soldan VA, Gilman R, Zimic M, Murphy L, Belizan J.  Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Training in Global Health through a Novel Joint Project for Trainees from Diverse Disciplines—Benefits, Risks, and Observations. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2016 Nov 7. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.16-0402.
  • Paz Soldan VA, Yukich J, Soonthorndhada A, Giron M, Apperson CS, Ponnusamy L, Schal C, Morrison AC, Wesson DM. Design and testing of novel lethal ovitrap to reduce populations of Aedes mosquitoes: community based participatory research between industry, academia and communities in Peru and Thailand. PLoS ONE, 2016 Aug 17;11(8):e0160386. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160386.

  • Salmon-Mulanovich G, Powell AR, Hartinger SM, Schwarz L, Bausch DG, Paz-Soldan VA. Community perceptions of health and rodent-borne diseases along the interoceanic highway in Madre de Dios, Peru. BMC Public Health, 2016 Aug 9;16:755. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3420-3.

  • Perkins TA, Paz-Soldán VA, Stoddard ST, Morrison AC, Forshey BM, Long KC, Halsey ES, Kochel TJ, Elder JP, Kitron U, Scott TW, Vazquez-Prokopec G. Calling in sick: impacts of fever on intra-urban human mobility. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2016 Jul 13;283(1834). pii: 20160390. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0390.

  • Paz-Soldán VA, Bauer K, Lenhart A, Cordova Lopez JJ, Elder JP, Scott TW, McCall PJ, Kochel TJ, Morrison AC. Experiences with insecticide-treated curtains: a qualitative study in Iquitos.  2016 Jul 16;16:582. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3191-x.

  • Paz-Soldán VA, Bauer K, Hunter GC, Castillo-Neyra R, Arriola VD, Rivera-Lanas D, Rodriguez GH, Toledo Vizcarra AM, Mollesaca Riveros LM, Levy MZ, Buttenheim AM. To spray or not to spray? Understanding participation in an Indoor Residual Spray campaign in Arequipa, Peru. Global Public Health, 2016 May 17:1-18.

  • Paz-Soldán VA, Cordova Lopez JJ, Bauer K, Izumi K, Morrison AC, Scott TW, Elder JP, McCall PJ, Alexander N, Halsey ES, Lenhart A. Factors associated with correct and consistent insecticide treated curtain use in Iquitos, Peru. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2016 March 11, 10(3):e0004409. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004409.

  • Paz-Soldán VA, Morrison AC, Cordova Lopez JJ, Lenhart A, Scott TW, Elder JP, Sihuincha M, Kochel TJ, Halsey ES, Astete H, McCall PJ.  Dengue knowledge and preventive practices in Iquitos, Peru. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2015 Dec, 93(6): 1330-1337. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0096.

  • Anticona Huaynate CF, Pajuelo MJ, Correa M, Mayta H, Oberhelman RA, Zimic M, Gilman RH, Murphy LL, Paz-Soldan VA.  Diagnostic barriers and innovations in rural areas: insights from junior medical doctors on the frontlines of rural care in Peru. BMC Health Services Research, 2015, 15:454. doi:10.1186/s12913-015-1114-7.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Alban RE, Dimos Jones C, Powell AR, Oberhelman RA.  Patient reported delays in seeking treatment for tuberculosis among adult and pediatric TB patients and TB patients co-infected with HIV in Lima, Peru: A Qualitative Study. Frontiers in Public Health, 2014 Dec 22, 2:281. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2014.00281.

  • Perkins TA, Garcia AJ, Paz-Soldán VA, Stoddard ST, Reiner RC Jr, Vazquez-Prokopec G, Bisanzio D, Morrison AC, Halsey ES, Kochel TJ, Smith DL, Kitron U, Scott TW, Tatem AJ. Theory and data for simulating fine-scale human movement in an urban environment. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2014 Oct, 11(99). doi: 10.1098/rsif.2014.0642.

  • LaCon G, Morrison AC, Astete H, Stoddard ST, Paz-Soldan VA, Elder JP, Halsey ES, Scott TW, Kitron U, Vazquez-Prokopec GM. Shifting patterns of Aedes aegypti fine scale spatial clustering in Iquitos, Peru. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2014 Aug, 8(8):e3038. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.00003038.

  • Paz-Soldán VA, Reiner RC, Morrison AC, Stoddard ST, Kitron U, Scott TW, Elder J, Halsey ES, Kochel T, Astete H, Vasquez-Prokopec GM. Strengths and weaknesses of Global Positioning System (GPS) data-loggers and semi-structured interviews for capturing fine-scale human mobility: Findings from Iquitos, Peru. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2014 Jun 12, 8(6):e2888. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002888.

  • Reiner RC Jr, Stoddard ST, Forshey BM, King AA, Ellis AM, Lloyd AL, Long KC, Rocha C, Vilcarromero S, Astete H, Bazan I, Lenhart A, Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Paz-Soldan VA, McCall PJ, Kitron U, Elder JP, Halsey ES, Morrison AC, Kochel TJ, Scott TW.  Time-varying, serotype-specific force of infection of dengue virus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2014 May 20. pii: 201314933.

  • Buttenheim AM, Paz-Soldan V, Barbu C, Skovira C, Quintanilla Calderón J, Mollesaca Riveros LM, Cornejo JO, Small DS, Bicchieri C, Naquira C, Levy MZ. Is participation contagious? Evidence from a household vector control campaign in urban Peru. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2013 Sep 23. doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-202661.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Alban R, Dimos C, Oberhelman. The provision and need of social support among adult and pediatric patients with tuberculosis in Lima, Peru: a qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research, 2013 Jul 31; 13:290. Doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-290.

  • Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Bisanzio D, Stoddard ST, Paz-Soldan VA, Morrison AC, Elder JP, Ramirez-Paredes J, Halsey ES, Kochel TJ, Scott TW, Kitron U. Using GPS technology to quantify human mobility, dynamic contacts and infectious disease dynamics in a resource-poor urban environment. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e58802. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058802.

  • Stoddard ST, Forshey BM, Morrison AC, Paz Soldan VA, Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Astete H, Reiner RC, Vilcarromero S, Elder JP, Halsey E, Kochel TJ, Kitron U, Scott TW. House-to-house human movement drives dengue virus transmission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013 January; 110(3): 994-999.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Bayer AM, Nussbaum L, Cabrera L. Structural barriers to screening for and treatment of cervical cancer in Peru. Reproductive Health Matters, 2012 Nov; 20(40): 50-59.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Bisika T, deGraft-Johnson J, Tsui AO. Community, social group, and individual level correlates of rural Malawian men’s and women’s reproductive health intentions and practices. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 2012 Sept; 16(3): 56-66.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Hoffman I, deGraft-Johnson J, Bisika T, Kazembe P, Feluzi H, Banda T, Tsui AO. STI Screening, Case and Contact Treatment, and Condom Promotion Resulting in STI Reduction Two Years Later in Rural Malawi. Malawi Medical Journal, March 2012; 24(1): 8-13.

  • Halperin M, Paz-Soldan VA, Quispe V, Paxton A, Gilman R. Sustainability of solar disinfection to provide safe drinking water in rural Peru. Public Health Reports, Sept/October 2011; 126(5): 762-8.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Nussbaum L, Bayer A, Cabrera L. Low knowledge of cervical cancer and cervical Pap smears among women in Peru, and their ideas of how this could be improved. International Quarterly for Community Health Education, 2010-2011; 31(3): 245-63.

  • Bayer A, Nussbaum L, Cabrera L, Paz-Soldan VA. Are missed opportunities for health education on Pap smears frequent in Peru? Health Education and Behavior, 2011, 38(2): 198-209.

  • Paz-Soldan VA, Plasai V, Morrison AC, Rios-Lopez EJ, Guedez-Gonzales S, Grieco JP, Mundal K, Chareonviriyaphap T, and Achee NL. Initial assessment of the acceptability of a push-pull Ae. aegypti control strategy in Iquitos, Peru and Kanchanaburi, Thailand. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2011, 84(2): 208-217.

Before 2010
  • Paz Soldán V, Stoddard S, Morrison A, Elder J, Vasquez-Prokopec G, Kitron U, Scott T. Assessing and maximizing the acceptability of GPS device use for studying the role of human movement in dengue virus transmission in Iquitos, Peru. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2010, 82(4): 723-30.

  • Lee FH, Paz-Soldan VA, Carcamo C, Garcia PJ. Knowledge and Attitudes of Adult Peruvian Women vis-a-vis Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Cervical Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease, 2010 Apr, 14(2): 113-117.

  • Pouliot SH, Xiong X, Harville E, Paz-Soldan V, Tomashek K, Breart G, Buekens P. Dengue and pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, 2009, 65(2): 107-118.

  • Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Stoddard ST, Paz-Soldan V, Morrison AC, Elder JP, Scott TW, Kitron U. Usefulness of commercially available GPS data-loggers for tracking human movement and exposure to dengue virus. International Journal of Health Geography, 2009 Nov, 8:68.

  • Stoddard ST, Morrison AC, Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Paz Soldan V, Kochel TJ, Kitron U, Elder JP, Scott TW. The role of human movement in the transmission of vector-borne pathogens. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2009, 3(7): e481.

  • Galvez-Buccollini JA, DeLea S, Herrera P, Gilman RH, Paz Soldan V. (2009). Sexual behavior and drug consumption among young adults in a Latin American shantytown. BMC Public Health, 2009, 9:23.

  • Galvez-Buccollini JA, Paz-Soldán VA, Herrera P, DeLea S, Gilman RH. Gender differences in sex-related alcohol expectancies: effects on hazardous drinking. Rev Panam Salud Publica, 2009, 25(6):499-505.

  • Oswald WE, Hunter GC, Lescano AG, Cabrera L, Leontsini E, Pan W, Paz Soldan V, Gilman RH. Direct observation of hygiene in a Peruvian shantytown: Not enough hand washing and too little water. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 2008, 13(11): 1421-1428.

  • Paz Soldan VA, Lee F, Carcamo C, Holmes KK, Garnett G, Garcia P. Who is getting Pap smears in urban Peru? International Journal of Epidemiology, 2008, 37: 862-869.

  • Galvez-Buccollini JA, Paz Soldan V, Herrera P, DeLea S, Gilman RH, Anthony JC. (2008). The association between sex-related alcohol expectancies, heavy episodic drinking and sexual risk among young adult men in a Lima shantytown. International Family Planning Perspectives, 2008, 34(1): 15-20.

  • Paz Soldán VA, DeGraft-Johnson J, Bisika T, Tsui AO. (2007). Social, Economic and Demographic Determinants of Sexual Risk Behaviors among Men in Malawi: A District Level Study. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 2007, 11(2): 33-46.

  • deGraft-Johnson J, Paz Soldan V, Kasote A, Tsui A. HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing Service Preferences in a Rural Malawi Population. AIDS and Behavior, 2005, 9(4): 475-484.

  • Paz Soldan VA. How Family Planning Ideas are Spread within Social Groups in Rural Malawi. Studies in Family Planning, 2004, 35(4), 275-290.