female doctor with stethoscope helping young patient

For more than two decades, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech have worked together to improve the health and care of young people. The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center (PTC) at Georgia Tech combines the world-class research and innovation at the Institute with the clinical expertise at Children’s to develop leading-edge technological solutions for an important cause: improving and saving the lives of children.

For Tommy Holder, IMGT 1979, the decision to support the PTC was an easy one. Holder currently serves as chairman of both the Georgia Tech Foundation Board of Trustees and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta System Board. These volunteer leadership positions have bolstered his confidence in the organizations and individuals working at the PTC.

“This partnership has had a profound impact on our ability to take care of kids in a really meaningful way,” he said. “The doctors at Children’s identify problems that need to be solved or opportunities for improvement, and of course the answer from Georgia Tech’s people is always, ‘Yes, we can fix that, we can make that.’”

The PTC provides extraordinary opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in pediatrics, creating breakthrough discoveries that improve the mental and physical health and well-being of children and young adults by increasing the accessibility, efficiency, and quality of healthcare delivery in hospitals and in communities that need it most. The PTC has identified three strategic focus areas, or pillars, that they are prioritizing over the next five years: data science, AI, and machine learning; patient-centered care delivery; and technologies and devices.

Visionary philanthropy like Holder’s helps make these discoveries and innovations possible. “Since Georgia Tech and Children’s provide the administrative underpinnings for the center, gifts to the PTC are used wholly for projects addressing any of the three pillars,” said Julia Kubanek, vice president for Interdisciplinary Research at Georgia Tech and professor in the College of Sciences. “This not only solves urgent problems in children’s healthcare but also enables us to educate Georgia Tech students in interdisciplinary biomedical research.”

Kubanek’s leadership and the three-pillar approach contribute to the strength of the PTC and the reality that a gift to the center is an investment in a better future for young people in Georgia and beyond. “All three pillars are very important, and I want them all to have great results,” said Holder. “At the end of the day, what it’s all about is using the power of Georgia Tech — intelligence and know-how — to help address some opportunities at Children’s that ultimately result in better care for kids.”

Holder also was inspired to support the PTC because of the work of Wilbur Lam, co-director of the PTC, a practicing doctor at Children’s, and a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory University and Georgia Tech. Lam has been involved in groundbreaking work in the areas of devices and innovative medical technologies.

“The PTC represents the best of two worlds: one of the most renowned technical universities in the country and one of the largest and most preeminent pediatric healthcare systems in the U.S.,” he said. “We’re poised to truly change childhood and adolescent healthcare. That said, this entire endeavor would not be possible without the generosity of our donors, because the pediatric healthcare market is much smaller than that of adults.”