Attorney. Speaker. Writer.


Using Narrative Medicine to Empower

Olga is available to speak to your organization, university, or hospital as a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator as well as an industry expert for your news segment and podcast.

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Take ownership of your health.

Olga Lucia Torres

Attorney, Speaker, and Writer

Olga Lucia Torres is a first-generation Latina born to a Colombian mother and Puerto Rican father, and the first one in her family to pursue higher education. She received her BA with a double major in Africana Studies and Government from Cornell undergraduate, and then went on to receive her JD at Georgetown University Law School. One of the eight lawyers to open the Bronx Defenders, a pioneering public defender’s office that offers holistic representation, Olga fought hard for her life and others. She is more than a success story; she is a survivor story.

A childhood pituitary adenoma kicked off Olga’s relationship with living and thriving as a sick person. In addition to managing a peeing and hormonal imbalance problem resulting from the pituitary adenoma, she was diagnosed with lupus, as well as four other autoimmune diseases. (She’s a bit of an overachiever.)

Then, one hot August day in 2000, she ate a piece of jerk chicken from a food cart, got food poisoning, and landed in the hospital for hydration. It was supposed to be routine medical care, but a series of mistakes led to a coma. She woke up, unable to walk, talk, or take care of herself. From a medical standpoint, she was permanently disabled.

This awful turn of events led to a new career. Olga was inspired to return to school at Columbia University and earned an MS in Narrative Medicine, where she learned how to use narrative training to help clinicians better hear and interpret their patients’ stories of illness. Olga gives talks to patient groups and doctors at hospitals. In 2016, Olga gave a TEDx talk titled “Why Everyone Should to Be a Professional Patient.” Expanding her audience, Olga has been published in the New York Times, Next Avenue, The New York Daily News, Parents, and other publications.

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