Dr. Southerland is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition Metabolism and Vice President of Interprofessional Education, Institutional Effectiveness, and the new Health Education Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After receiving her DDS at the UNC School of Dentistry in 1989, Dr. Southerland completed a two year General Practice Residency Program where she spent a third year as a fellow and completed a MPH with a focus on Health Policy and Administration, and a PhD in Oral Biology, all at UNC. Previously she served as Dean of the Meharry Medical College, School of Dentistry, Chief Academic Officer for the school, and Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Prior to her time at Meharry, Dr. Southerland served as the Chair of the Department of Hospital Dentistry, Chief of the Oral Medicine Service, and Director of the Hospital Dental Clinic at UNC Hospitals.
Dr. Southerland is actively involved in research that focuses on the relationship between oral disease and systemic health and patient–centered outcomes. Specifically, her studies have focused on the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease, early detection and interventions for oral cancer, management of oral complications associated with HIV disease. Additionally, she has studied health disparities related to xerostomia in individuals suffering with diabetes, intimate partner violence/elder abuse, cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease, the impact of improved oral health on HIV health outcomes, and the use of salivary proteomics in evaluating overall health and well-being. Dr. Southerland is currently focused on providing high quality Interprofessional Education and team-based learning in an environment leveraging technology to provided human and nonhuman simulation.
Dr. Southerland holds memberships in a number of professional organizations such as the National Dental Association, the American Dental Association, the American/International Association Dental Research (AADR/IADR) and is a member of the American and International Colleges of Dentists. Dr. Southerland holds or has held a number of leadership positions that include Chair of the National Dental Association’s Committee on Minority Faculty Education, Research and Development, National Advisory Committee Member for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Second Vice Chair of the UNC General Alumni Association’s Board and Chair of its Enrichment Committee, Chair of the UNC Light on the Hill Scholarship Committee, Chair of Meharry Institutional Review Board, and co-leader for the Meharry Translational Research Grant Collaborations and Partnership and Pilot Projects Cores funded by NIMHD.
Dr. Southerland has four adult children and is married to Dr. Charles Mouton.