Donna L. Schuurman, EdD, FT

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Donna and Dougy Center

Donna L. Schuurman, EdD, FT, is the Senior Director of Advocacy & Education at Dougy Center. Dr. Schuurman was the Executive Director of Dougy Center from 1991–2015. 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. Dr. Schuurman has written extensively on topics related to children who are grieving. 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 directly with families and communities impacted by large-scale tragedies and natural disasters including the Oklahoma City bombing (1995), Japan’s Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995), the 9/11 Attacks, Tohoku Earthquake (2011), and the Sandy Hook school shootings (2012).

Education and Affiliations

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 serves on the FBI’s Mass Violence and Children Work Group, and as an Expert Witness in legal cases related to wrongful death and is a member of the invitation-only International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement (IWG), serving as Board Vice-Chair (2016-2021). She is a Founding Board member of the National Alliance for Children's Grief (NACG).

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.

She has also served on the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-NW, The Compassionate Friends, Inc., and The Compassionate Friends Foundation.