Biljana Southerland, MD
Dr. Biljana Southerland is the Program Director of Medical and Governmental Affairs for the Team Type 1 Foundation and Chief Consultant for the World Health Organization, International Diabetes Center and Mayo Clinic. Her significant experience in shaping public health policy and working with governmental health agencies provides clear direction for the Foundation’s mission of achieving global access to medicine, education and empowerment for everyone affected by diabetes.
A native of Macedonia and former advisor to the Ministry of Health in her home country, Dr. Southerland served as Advisor for Hospital Affairs and Advisor for Health Care Management in the Cabinet of the Minister where she played an integral role in enacting dramatic change for diabetes care, creating a scalable model for public health policy that can be utilized in other countries. In 2010, she developed Macedonia’s National Diabetes Program, a groundbreaking initiative providing every resident living with diabetes free access to insulin.
In 2011, Dr. Southerland attended a medical conference on diabetes that featured a keynote address by Phil Southerland, founder and CEO of Team Type 1 (now Team Novo Nordisk), a team of endurance athletes with diabetes competing around the world at the highest levels of cycling, triathlon and running. Hearing the powerful story of what these athletes were able to achieve as a result of proper diabetes management – which included frequent testing of blood sugar levels of up to 15 times per day – Dr. Southerland was inspired to expand the Macedonian program.
Convincing the government to provide people with diabetes the tools to live healthy and productive lives instead of paying for the cost of hospitalization for chronic complications like dialysis and retinopathy which can occur as a result of inadequate diabetes management, Dr. Southerland facilitated the passing of one of the most progressive diabetes care policies in the world. Within two months, the government implemented a program to fully cover insulin, blood glucose monitoring strips and insulin pumps for all people in Macedonia living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The government now also covers tuition fees for college and masters studies for people with type 1 diabetes.
A graduate of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia as a Doctor of Medicine, Dr. Southerland is licensed for independent work in primary healthcare. Following graduation, she practiced in a clinic at the Department of Abdominal Surgery, providing both medical and surgical care in Macedonia. She is currently working on her Masters thesis in Health and Pharmaceutical management at the European University in Skopje, Macedonia. She speaks five languages.
Dr. Southerland resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Phil Southerland, CEO and co-founder of Team Novo Nordisk, a global sports organization home to more than 100 endurance athletes with diabetes, spearheaded by the worlds’ first all-diabetes professional cycling team.