Green Festival Speakers
Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a trained and published neuroanatomist. Her specialty was in the postmortem investigation of the human brain as it relates to schizophrenia and the severe mental illnesses. Because she has a brother who has been diagnosed with the brain disorder schizophrenia, Dr. Taylor served for three years on the Board of Directors of the National NAMI organization (National Alliance on Mental Illness) between 19941997. Currently she serves as President of the Greater Bloomington Affiliate of NAMI in Bloomington, Indiana.
Because there is a long term shortage of brain tissue donated for postmortem research by individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, Dr. Taylor travels as the National Spokesperson for the Mentally Ill for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Harvard Brain Bank) located at McLean Hospital. As the Singin' Scientist, Dr. Taylor delivers this very popular keynote address titled How To Get Your Brain To Do What You Want It To Do.
But as irony would have it, on December 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor woke up to discover that she was experiencing a rare form of stroke, an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Two and a half weeks later, on December 27, 1996, she underwent major brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to remove a golf ball size blood clot that was placing pressure on the language centers in the left hemisphere of her brain.
It took eight years for Dr. Taylor to successfully rebuild her brain from the inside out. In response to the swelling and trauma of the stroke, which placed pressure on her dominant left hemisphere, the functions of her right hemisphere blossomed. Among other things, she now creates and sells unique stained glass brains when commissioned to do so. In addition, she published a book about her recovery from stroke and the insights she gained into the workings of her brain. The book is titled My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey and has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for over nine weeks.
In May of 2008, TIME Magazine chose Dr. Taylor as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and she was the premiere guest on Oprah's Soul Series webcast.