Dr. Holton Switches Roles as the New Senior Director of Stamps Health Services

Where did you attend school and residency?

(I received my) undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University, with a double major in biomedical engineering and molecular biology; medical school at Emory University School of Medicine and residency in emergency medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC

How long have you been a staff member at Georgia Tech?

I started at Georgia Tech in March 2011, so a little over 6 years.

What originally interested you in working at Stamps Health Services(SHS)?

I worked in emergency medicine for 20 years, and it was time for a change. At the time, a former resident of mine, Dr. Maureen Olson, was medical director here and had very positive things to say about college health. I was attracted to the opportunity to work with undergraduate and graduate students, in a setting where I could have an ongoing relationship with patients, and the camaraderie of the staff here.

Have you always worked in primary care? If not please explain?

No, I have not always worked in Primary Care. For 20 years I worked in emergency medicine, 17 of those years as faculty at Emory University’s Department of Emergency Medicine. I worked primarily in the emergency departments of Grady Hospital and Emory University Hospital. I was also the Associate Residency Director in emergency medicine for 10 of those years. I was also a small group mentor for medical students that were part of Emory’s new curriculum.

How have you seen SHS change throughout your time here?

Shortly after I arrived the facility was renovated, which gave a new look and feel to the facility. We started using an electronic medical record, which changed many of the workflow processes. The health center achieved accreditation through AAAHC, with an increased emphasis on quality assessment and improvement. We have increased our outreach to students, particularly students interested in a career in a health profession, through GT1000 classes for pre-health students, Stamps Health Ambassadors, and Dr. Moore’s upper level applied physiology courses. We have increased our capacity to provide mental health services by increasing our number of psychiatrists and the addition of care coordinators. We have added primary care providers, including midlevel providers and we added a sports medicine clinic open two afternoons a week. The formation of Health and Well-being two years ago, developed closer ties to the CRC and a new relationship with Health Initiatives.

Can you provide a brief overview of what it is you will do in your new position as Senior Director?

Stamps Health Services has grown tremendously under Dr. Moore’s leadership in terms of the level of professionalism and quality of services provided.  Stamps Health Services will continue emphasis on providing care of the highest quality in a manner that is patient centered in a warm and caring environment. We will continue to build bridges with the CRC and Health Initiatives, our partners in Health and Well-being, to not only restore health to those students who are sick but foster health and wellness for the entire GT community.

How do you feel your past position as a physician prepared you for this new role?

Providing health care is a complicated process, and it requires a team. Rare in today’s health care environment is the lone provider who functions completely independently. Particularly in the emergency department, where I spent the first half of my career, teamwork is necessary. Stamps Health Services is no different. When a student enters Stamps Health Services they don’t just see me. They see the representative at the front desk, they see the medical assistant who puts them in a room and begins their visit, they see the provider who examines them, they may see the nurse who starts an IV or gives them medication, they may see laboratory or x-ray personnel for testing, they may see the pharmacy staff for a prescription, and they see the personnel at the checkout desk. Their perception of their care is affected by each of those interactions, and a break down at any of those points could compromise their care. A physician is usually the captain of the team, particularly at the bedside in the emergency department, tasked with setting the tone of the team, providing direction, setting priorities, determining urgency. The role here at Stamps is very similar. I hope to emphasize that we are all in this together, that each of us has a role but there is no “that’s not my job”. We all do what needs to be done so that the students get taken care of in the best possible manner.

What motivated you to enter into medicine?

I wandered into medicine almost accidentally. No one in my family was connected to the medical field. In college I studied what interested me and what I what I did pretty well in, primarily math and science. I took a year off after college and worked in a research lab, trying to figure out if medicine or research fit better. I found I liked the practical application of science to people better. I also found that my gentle and calm nature work pretty well in a clinical setting. What really fulfills me is knowing that I have made a difference to someone by providing good care in a kind and compassionate manner.

What have you learned from the people you work with at SHS?

The thing that most impressed me when I started working at SHS is the concern and compassion for students that many of the employees demonstrated. Nurses brought food from home for a student with diabetes who had trouble controlling his sugar because he did not have the finances to eat meals on a consistent basis. Medical assistants and nurses spent significant time helping students arrange appointments with outside specialists and for procedures done at other facilities. Support staff called and visited students sent to the hospital to see if they needed anything.

What does working in medicine at Georgia Tech mean to you?

Working in medicine at Georgia Tech obviously includes taking care of students when they come in to the health center, but it also includes representing the medical profession to students who are considering pursuing a career in the health field. Working with students involved in Stamps Ambassadors, AMSA, MAPS and teaching the pre health sections of GT1000 have been rewarding additions to providing medical care in the clinic. Working in medicine at Georgia Tech has also been an opportunity for me to grow personally in areas of health care administration, such as quality improvement and people management.

What do you do when you aren't working at SHS?

I like to play tennis. I play on a Men’s ALTA team in the spring and fall. My wife and I like to work in our yard. I do a little bit of woodworking. My daughter and I enjoy riding bikes together.

Related Links

Related Media

Click on image(s) to view larger version(s)

  • Dr. Holton Biography

    Dr. Holton Biography