How Dr. Mark Holterman Became a Force for International Pediatrics


Dr. Mark Holterman is a major force behind the International Pediatric Specialists Alliance for the Children of Vietnam (IPSAC-VN). He’s assisted this worthy organization in the roles of investor, fundraiser, and program organizer. While this charity represents a fairly new project for Dr. Holterman, it’s an extension of everything his career has revolved around from the beginning: children, medicine, education, and innovation.


The Driving Mission of IPSAC-VN

IPSAC-VN’s medical experts are helping Vietnamese children receive outstanding healthcare ( The foundation collects and distributes medical equipment, and it sends its members to various locations in Vietnam. In that country, some of those volunteers perform surgeries, especially in the highland regions where it can be extremely difficult to find a qualified surgeon.

Other volunteers assist in setting up classes for medical students and professionals, and still, others collaborate with Vietnamese researchers. Doctors in Vietnam and their counterparts from the U.S. also get together and brainstorm ways of expanding access to medical care.

Through the IPSAC-VN website, American healthcare professionals can learn about the organization, decide if they would like to get involved, and sign up to participate in one of the group’s trips to Vietnam, which it calls “missions.” Each mission typically involves five days of active service along with conferences before and afterward.

IPSAC-VN sometimes brings licensed medical professionals from Vietnam to the U.S. through its International Scholar Program. Each participant receives a $2,500 stipend to pay for travel expenses, and each stay can last as long as two months. While they’re in this country, those scholars can watch American doctors and other healthcare providers in action. They may also conduct research at a school that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has endorsed.

Once a scholar’s stay in the U.S. has come to an end, he or she will put together a formal presentation that describes the lessons learned from the visit. That person will then take those lessons home and put them into effect at the facility where he or she works.


Balancing Business and Medicine

Even with all of the work he does with IPSAC-VN, Dr. Mark Holterman hasn’t quit his day jobs, and he has a lot of them. He is or has been on quite a few hospital staffs, among them St. Alexius Medical Center, OSF St. Francis Medical Center, and Carle Foundation Hospital. At one time, he was Advocate Christ Children’s Hospital’s surgeon-in-chief. In addition, Dr. Holterman belongs to several medical societies. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Surgeons are two of them.

Not to mention, Dr. Holterman is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. At this school, he instructs students who are studying surgery and pediatrics, and he supervises residents in surgery. He’s a researcher at this university as well. His research specialties include diabetes, obesity, and stem cell treatments. Over the years, he’s published his findings in numerous scientific articles. What’s more, Dr. Holterman is an authority on bariatric surgery, and he’s helped write medical textbooks on that subject.

Dr. Mark Holterman is an entrepreneur to boot. He has co-founded several firms that introduce investors to people creating breakthrough medical products and new forms of treatment.

Currently, Dr. Holterman is the CEO of Mariam Global Health Fund, which debuted in 2012. This company nurtures advancements in stem cell therapy, regeneration, and other cutting-edge biotechnology subspecialties. Mariam Global Health Fund looks for medical startups across the globe that are doing innovative work. It not only helps them locate financing, but it supplies them with management services as they grow in size and scope.

Further, Dr. Holterman’s belief in the power and promise of cellular therapies led him to co-found the Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies, a group that promotes safe, regulated, and ethical medical treatments at the cellular level.


A Partnership of Achievement

Dr. Holterman’s educational background prepared him to tackle this multitude of roles. He studied biology at Yale University, and he graduated cum laude from that school in 1980 (ReleaseFact). With the aid of a scholarship from the National Institutes of Health, he attended the University of Virginia and earned a Ph.D. as well as a medical degree.

At the University of Virginia, he completed a residency in general surgery. For good measure, he also met Ai-Xuan, his future wife, at that school. Later on, Dr. Ai-Xuan Holterman would be so taken by Mark’s passion for children’s health that she’d become a pediatric surgeon herself.

Indeed, the two Dr. Holtermans, who are the parents of three sons, have long supported one another and spurred each other on to greater accomplishments. They moved to Seattle so that Mark could complete a fellowship in pediatric surgery at the University of Washington. Next, they moved to Montreal for Ai-Xuan’s pediatric surgery residency. While living in that city, Dr. Mark made good use of his time by conducting research at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. At last, the Holtermans moved to Chicago to begin their careers in earnest.

By the way, Dr. Ai-Xuan Holterman is also a key contributor to IPSAC-VN. In 2007, the couple took a trip to Vietnam, the country from which Ai-Xuan fled in 1975. As they voyaged from Saigon to some of the nation’s rural areas, they got a sense of the scarcity of medical care in many parts of the country. The following year, the Holtermans returned to Vietnam, and this time, their sons came along. In the end, the couple’s love for that nation stirred in them a strong desire to support its healthcare industry.

As IPSAC-VN continues to change lives and transform careers in Vietnam, there’s no sign yet that Dr. Mark Holterman is looking to slow down. For him, medicine and business are forms of fulfillment and even pleasure, and it’s likely that he’ll keep giving back to society and to children all over the world for as long as he can.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here