Andrew Oberle, M.H.A.
Andrew Oberle, is the Executive Director and patient advocate for the Oberle Institute. He made global news in 2012 after being attacked by two chimpanzees at an animal sanctuary in South Africa while conducting his master's thesis research in anthropology. The attack resulted in severe trauma all over his body, and he spent several weeks in a coma and on a ventilator in a South African hospital. Through "Operation Oberle," a campaign led by his friends and family back home, he was flown back to the United States to be treated at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital by SLUCare physicians, led by Bruce Kraemer, M.D.
After three years of interdisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation, which Oberle describes as "treating the whole person," he now shares his story of healing to inspire philanthropy and support for the Institute so that other traumatically injured individuals may receive the same quality of care that gave him his life back. His perspective as a patient helps guide the development of the Oberle Institute and its programs.
Oberle received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Saint Mary’s University-San Antonio, a Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Texas-San Antonio, a Master of Health Administration from Saint Louis University, and is currently a doctoral student studying health management and policy in Saint Louis University's College for Public Health and Social Justice.
Team Members & Partners
Chaplains at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital (SSM SLUH) help optimize the healing process by providing spiritual care and education to patients and their families throughout their time receiving care at SSM SLUH.
Chaplains assess how spiritual issues impact a patient’s health by exploring the patient’s concept of God, significant relationships, meaning of one’s experiences, spiritual resources and concerns.
SSM SLUH chaplains take a transformative approach to spiritual recovery, focusing on acceptance and renewed purpose. A commitment to holistic care is based on the premise that traumatic injuries are challenges to the human spirit.
Stacy Deleste, M.S.W., LCSW, is an SSM SLUH trauma social worker. Social workers are professionals skilled in assisting people who are facing life changes as a result of traumatic injuries that affect the family and support network along with the individual patient. Social workers work closely with patients and families throughout the health care continuum. In the course of the health care process, social workers address emotional, social, and economic needs presented as a result of traumatic injury or illness.
Social workers provide adjustment and grief counseling along with evaluation and referral for additional mental health care, spiritual support, or community-based support groups. They assist in discharge planning, case management and recommending home modifications, and may refer the family for governmental resources such as Social Security disability, vocational rehabilitation, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid.
Andrew Dwiggins is a board certified music therapist at the St. Louis University Cancer Center and partner of the Oberle Institute.
At the St. Louis University Cancer Center, Andrew is responsible for conducting music therapy sessions and research studies.
Before pursuing a career in music therapy, he was a professional musician. His band, Greenwheel, was signed to Island Records from 2000-2006. He composed the song Breathe, which was recorded by Melissa Etheridge for her 2004 album entitled Lucky and for which she received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Rock Solo Vocal Performance.
Carolyn Moore and her team of certified therapy dogs - Sadie, Hunter and Petunia - are the Oberle Institute’s resident dog therapy team. Moore is a registered nurse. Sadie, Hunter and Petunia are certified therapy dogs that have undergone training at an officially recognized animal-assisted therapy institution. These training programs prepare dogs for interactions with patients in various health care settings.
Vicki Moran, Ph.D., M.S.N./M.P.H, is the Trauma Nursing Coordinator for the Oberle Institute.
She is an Assistant Professor in the Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing at Saint Louis University and research coordinator for the SSM SLUH trauma department.
She is a registered nurse, therapeutic nutritional counselor, advanced public health nurse, and trauma nursing coordinator.