For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Marlena Vega has delivered her message of "survivorship through self empowerment" to audiences around the world. She draws upon her own life history to connect with audiences and teach them how to reach their goals. Dr. Marlena focuses on the individuals own inner strengths and helps them fine tune their abilities to overcome the challenges and obstacles that they face in their lives. She does so by teaching her thirteen tenants of survivorship which include self-esteem, self-efficacy, and the "Macarena" for self-exam.

She, a pioneering psycho-oncologist, is a third generation breast and skin cancer survivor and is one of the nation's foremost experts on survivorship. Dr. Marlena is able to reach large and diverse audiences regardless of ethnic, social, or language barriers on such issues as overcoming a life threatening illness such as cancer, substance abuse, AIDS, and mental health. Her mantra of "making life work for you" is central to her inspirational and motivational speaking.

Dr. Marlena's lessons of survivorship have been translated into several languages and have helped countless individuals throughout the years. She has appeared on news segments, talk shows, documentaries, and has lectured at academic institutions and organizations such as Harvard University, Columbia University's School of Public Health, Pace University, Hebrew University, The University of Puerto Rico, and the National Coalition for Breast Cancer Survivors in Washington, D.C., the American Cancer Society, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Dr. Marlena has a documentary of her CoMadre programs, which are furnished by request along with reprints of articles and is about to publish a book on survivorship and self-empowerment.

She is the CEO of Sobrevivir/A Will to Live, a grassroots, not-for-profit organization. Dr. Marlena is also a consultant for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Office for Minority Health, AztraZeneca Pharmaceutical Company, the Department of Health for New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Denver, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Milwaukee.

Education and Certifications

University of Puerto Rico at San Juan, San Juan, PR - 1994
Post Doctoral Training
Summer symposium at the College of Social Work

Pacific Western University of the University of California Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, CA - 1993

Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work
Concentration in Psycho-therapy

Smith College, Northampton, MA - 1967

Hunter College, New York, NY - 1965
B.A. in Psychology

The Group for Psychoanalytic Studies, New York, NY - 1991
Third Year Certificate

Other Certifications:
    Hypnotherapist - 1993
    Psychiatric Social Worker - 1967
    Divorce Mediation Certification - 1984
    Grief Counselor and Therapist - 1983
    IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor & Relationship Therapist - 1986

"Dr. Vega is an inspiring teacher for medical, substance abuse, and social service professionals on topics including addictions, mental health, and cultural competency."

Dion A. Richetti, DC
NJ AIDS Education Training Center