Phil Southerland, the 29-year-old CEO of Team Type 1 and global diabetes advocate has been named Director of Health Care Policy, Planning and Patient Advocacy for the World Health Organization Collaborating Center, International Diabetes Center and Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis, MN.
In this role, Southerland will support the Center’s 5-year collaboration with China’s Ministry of Health to promote patient self-care through programs sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In China, he will be active in supporting policies to discourage discrimination against children and young adults with type 1 diabetes. He will also assist the Center’s similar efforts in Latin America, the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East and play a critical role in illustrating that individuals with diabetes can live a normal and productive life without restrictions, providing that the highest quality of care is available.
“Due to Phil’s extraordinary experience in working with governments around the world and influencing policy to provide the necessary services and supplies for children with diabetes, we felt it was important to have him work with us on this significant undertaking in China,” says Dr. Roger Mazze, Head, WHO Collaborating Center, IDC and Mayo Clinic. “He will assist our efforts around the world to improve patient self-care and help governments align their policies to ensure people with diabetes enjoy the same rights and opportunities as all individuals within their countries.”
Southerland, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at seven-months-old, founded Team Type 1 in 2005 as a grassroots initiative to help others with diabetes take control of their disease using cycling as a platform. Under his leadership, Team Type 1 has grown to become a global sports organization radically changing the lives of people with diabetes around the world. The organization now includes an elite athletic program with more than 100 athletes from 11 countries, global outreach and philanthropic initiatives in numerous developing countries and a dedicated diabetes sports research program.
“Every day, our athletes are proving that with proper care and access to insulin and supplies, anything is possible with diabetes,” says Southerland. “Every child in the world should have the opportunity to live a full, healthy life, free from the discrimination that often accompanies a diagnosis. I’m honored to be able to assist the World Health Organization in its global mission to make that a reality.”
WHO collaborating centers include more than 800 institutions around the world designated by the Organization’s Director General to carry out activities in support of WHO programs. The International Diabetes Center and Mayo Clinic received its designation in 1986 for diabetes education, translation and computer technology. It is one of 32 WHO collaborating diabetes centers worldwide, and one of only two in the United States.