Dr. Dannia G. Southerland, 62, passed away on February 9, 2013 at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. Dr. Southerland is the daughter of H. Dan and Mary (nee Smith) Southerland of Jacksonville, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, receiving her doctorate in Social Work. Early on, Dannia found her passion in social justice work and became a well-known activist in North Carolina. While her activism was multi-faceted it began and ended with Vietnam. In 2007, while consulting with the U.S. based nonprofit Children of Vietnam, Dannia was one of the architects of the Hope System of Care for Children with Disabilities. In Vietnam, where the poor and disabled have few resources to obtain help, she was instrumental in developing a model case management system that facilitates access to life-changing services by children and youth who are multiply disabled. To date, Hope System of Care has brought comprehensive care to nearly 400 children with disabilities and is a model for the country. Dannia continued her work with Children of Vietnam until 2012.
Like all other areas of her life, her professional career focused on caring for others. For the past five years Dannia worked with the Services Effectiveness Research Program, within the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, conducting research in child mental health. Her focus was on providing quality services to children in foster care, and helping those children transition into adulthood.
Dannia is preceded in death by her father H. Dan Southerland, Sr.; her sister, Deanna Christian; and her brother Danny Southerland, Jr. She is survived by her mother Mary Southerland of Jacksonville, NC; partner Frayda Glanzberg of Durham, NC; daughter Tara Southerland Pedersen (Christopher Pedersen) and 2 grandchildren of Fredericksburg, VA; sister Danielle Boone (James Boone) of Jacksonville, NC; sister Kim Southerland of Raleigh, NC; and sister in law Margo Glanzberg Visitacion of Marlton, NJ. Dannia is also survived by many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. Per Dannia’s request formal services will not be held; however, there will be a celebration of her life later in spring.
In recognition of her work with Children of Vietnam, the DR. DANNIA SOUTHERLAND MEMORIAL FUND is being established to celebrate the many contributions she made to improve the quality of care provided children and youth with disabilities in Vietnam. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to:
Children of Vietnam, Dr. Dannia Southerland Memorial Fund, 817 West End Blvd., Winston-Salem NC 27101-2406.
Of her many passions in life, Dannia firmly believed in two things: that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities, and that chardonnay should always be aged in oak barrels.