From Illinois to Vietnam, Dr. Mark Holterman Keeps Improving the Lives of Children


Dr. Mark Holterman serves various medical institutions in various ways. He is an attending pediatric surgeon at several hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. He maintains offices in the village of Maywood and the city of Peoria. He is a full professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, and he was once an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In addition, Dr. Mark Holterman co-founded and is the CEO of Mariam Global Health, a company that invests in startups and assists in managing them. Mariam looks for firms that have the potential to introduce breakthrough medical technologies.

In recent years, Dr. Holterman has proven to be a major asset to the International Pediatric Specialists Alliance for the Children of Vietnam (IPSAC-VN), a charitable foundation that could change the face of the Vietnamese healthcare industry.


A Life in Medicine

Dr. Mark Holterman’s educational and career paths have taken him across North America. He enjoyed a kind of idyllic childhood on a Wisconsin farm. Even so, he worked hard as a youngster and frequently helped out his parents. He finished high school in 1976, and he spent his undergraduate years as a Yale University biology major. At Yale, he was a National Merit Scholar for four years, and he graduated with honors.

Dr. Holterman won a prestigious scholarship from the National Institutes of Health, which came in handy when he attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. He earned both his MD and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia, and he completed a general surgery residency there as well.

Dr. Holterman’s career preparation included a pediatric surgery fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle. Then, for two years, he worked as a research associate at the Clinical Research Institute in Montreal. After that period in Canada, he moved to Chicago, which has been his home base ever since.

In 2008 and in every year between 2010 and 2015, Dr. Holterman was named one of America’s Top Doctors, a distinction that the medical research company Castle Connolly grants.

Furthermore, Dr. Holterman finds the time to conduct his own research on occasion. Among other areas, he focuses on obesity, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association gave him its Innovative Research Award in 2001.

In the Holterman household, medicine is a family affair ( Dr. Holterman’s wife is Dr. Ai-Xuan L. Holterman, a pediatric surgeon and native of Vietnam who’s also heavily involved with IPSAC-VN. The couple met at the University of Virginia, and they have three sons.


Combining Healthcare and Entrepreneurship

Mariam Global Health is just one of the small companies that Dr. Mark Holterman has co-founded. His firms fund new advances in fields like regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments. Plus, in October 2014, he co-founded the nonprofit Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies (AACT). As its name suggests, the mission of this group is to promote the idea of treating diseases at the cellular level.

Indeed, Dr. Holterman’s business skills and extensive network of connections allow brilliant but underfunded inventors, researchers, doctors, and other specialists to bring their creations to the marketplace. Many of those individuals don’t have the corporate background to do so on their own.

It can be difficult for biotechnology pioneers to secure funding for their projects. Many investors still view the biotech field as a risky sector to back. However, the endorsement of someone like Dr. Holterman, a person with a track record of business success, can go a long way in terms of assuaging such concerns.


The Influence of IPSAC-VN

In essence, IPSAC-VN is a strategic partnership between doctors, medical assistants, nurses, and other healthcare providers in Vietnam and their counterparts in the U.S. The foundation is seeking to increase the number of Vietnamese children who have regular access to high-quality medical care.

In some of Vietnam’s more remote regions, getting a child to see a doctor for a checkup or in an emergency can be an arduous task. It sometimes requires an entire family to travel a long distance and spend one or more nights together in a hospital. Of course, such circumstances can easily lead to dangerous overcrowding in the nation’s urban hospitals.

IPSAC-VN provides funding for American volunteers to travel to Vietnam and work in hospitals, clinics, and medical schools throughout that country. For instance, on March 3, 2018, a group of volunteers will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, and they will offer a range of services between March 5 and 9.

The support that these groups deliver comes in the form of lectures, training sessions, and conversations about how to expand access. They may collaborate on research projects, and they often strive to set up educational programs that will continue well into the future. For example, IPSAC-VN members have assisted in creating special courses for nurses.

When they’re in Vietnam, IPSAC-VN participants pay for their hotels and transportation. They’re divided into teams, and each of those teams will meet for conferences before and after the volunteering sessions occur. In some cases, IPSAC-VN will even arrange to have American surgeons perform operations in Vietnam.

On top of that, IPSAC-VN has collected pieces of medical equipment that facilities all across Vietnam can put to good use. The charity accepts donations from organizations and individuals alike.


Steadfast and Always Learning

Throughout his career, Dr. Mark Holterman has adhered to a few basic principles. He says a prayer at the start and close of each workday (MarkHolterman.WordPress). He makes sure that he’s able to adjust his daily schedule to some degree. Plus, he stays open-minded, and he keeps abreast of all kinds of medical trends.

Thanks to these tenets, his natural gifts, his first-rate education, his devotion to his calling, and his concern for the well-being of people across the globe, Dr. Holterman has played an important part in advancing healthcare and making it more accessible to those who need it most.