We can all think of a person in our lives, past or present, who is or was that quintessential “caregiver.” We also know other people who are laser-focused and determinately successful in their professional life, accruing accolades like they’re just picking flowers along the road. It’s pretty rare that you meet a person who embodies both “spirits,” but people who know Dr. Mark Holterman get to interact with just such a person everyday.
Speaking to his professional successes, he was the first of his family to not only go to college, but to attend Yale. After graduating with a degree in biology in 1980, Dr. Holterman enrolled in medical school at the University of Virginia (UVA) with a leaning toward Pediatrics. He completed his surgery residency at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center then moved on to become a fellow of surgery at the University of Washington Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.
In an effort to appease his varying interests, Dr. Holterman also added a few research credentials to his resume. He spent two years as a research associate at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. During his time at the University of Illinois, he studied stem cell and other regenerative treatments to battle cancer and diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recognized Dr. Holterman with the prestigious Innovative Research Award.
It was during his time at UVA that he met his future wife, Ai-Xuan Le, a medical resident and future surgeon. Curiously enough, their singular passions, Dr. Holterman’s for pediatrics and Dr. Le’s for surgery, combined to inspire both healthcare professionals to become pediatric surgeons. However, the couple’s career inspirations would evolve in to more than just professional success. It would soon open the door for the couple to experience and pursue their philanthropic journey.
Through inspiration from his medical research days, Dr. Holterman set up a charitable organization called The Hannah Sunshine Foundation to connect children suffering from rare, chronic diseases with new-age, cellularly regenerative treatments. Inspired from his surgical days, he also co-founded a nonprofit called the International Pediatric Specialists Alliance for the Children of Vietnam (IPSAC-VN) in 2009 to help make pediatric care more accessible in Vietnam.
No matter your individual definition of “successful,” Dr. Holterman probably fits it but don’t try to contain him, he’s only just begun.
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