Expert Witness Services by The Dougy Center
In service to grieving children and their families, The Dougy Center selectively provides expert witness testimony for wrongful death lawsuits involving children, either as survivors or victims.
Dr. Donna Schuurman represents The Dougy Center as an expert witness in wrongful death cases by testifying on the impact of death on children, parents and families. Dr. Schuurman’s expert witness experience spans over 13 years, and she has been hired on behalf of both prosecution and defense in numerous states from Florida to Oregon.
Dr. Schuurman is an internationally recognized authority on grief and bereaved children, teens, and families, and the author of Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent (St. Martin’s Press, 2003), among other publications.
In addition to her work as CEO of The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon since 1991, Dr. Schuurman has written extensively on topics related to bereaved children. Her articles and other contributions have been published in scholarly journals and textbooks, and she has been interviewed as an expert on the subject by Redbook, The New York Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, and many other consumer publications. She has worked on the ground with families and communities impacted by large-scale tragedies including the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the Sandy Hook/CT school shootings, and others.
Dr. Schuurman earned her master’s degree in communications from Wheaton Graduate School, and her doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University’s Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education. She served for eight years on the Board of Directors of The Association for Death Education & Counseling (ADEC), including as President in 2001/2002. In 2003 she received ADEC’s Annual Service Award, and in 2013, their Annual Clinical Practice Award. Donna is also a member of the invitation-only International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG). She previously served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-NW, and is a Founding Board member of the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent work and preparation in this case. Due in no small part to your help, the jury returned a verdict in this case of $2,708,000. Over $2.5 million of this was ‘intangible’ damages having to do with each child’s loss of his/her parent. Once again, thank you very much for your help and I will certainly keep you in mind for any future cases involving a child’s loss of a parent.”
Richard D. Schuler, Schuler Halvorson Weisser, West Palm Beach, FL
“I am writing to let you know that this case has settled. Thank you for your hard work on Mr. ___’ behalf. You were instrumental in our achieving this result.”
Clinton L. Kelly, Kelly, Kelly & Allman, Hendersonville, TN
The Dougy Center offers a wide variety of workshops & training sessions on helping grieving children. We travel nationally and internationally, offer phone consultations, and host an annual Summer Institute in Portland.