Erin passed away on July 7, 2021. This blog is being maintained in her memory by SpirituallyBankrupt.com.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, proclaimed that
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care.”
Health as a Human Right is a concept that encompasses ideals of health care being available, accessible, ethical, culturally sensitive, and high quality. To realize this right, we must understand the interconnected areas of health care policy, health information technology, research, pharmaceuticals, medical education, doctors’ and other providers’ roles in providing health care, mental health, genetics, bioethics, and many more topics. We also need to understand what health means – what diseases and conditions impact the ability to be healthy, what we can do to remain healthy, and how we can contribute to a healthy society.
I hope to discuss here a broad range of health care topics in an effort to bring us to an understanding of Health as a Human Right, the progress we are making to attain that right, and the challenges ahead to maintain and build on that right.
As part of this blog, I will incorporate my own personal experiences in advocating for others and myself as I struggle with disabilities, including physical and mental illnesses. Though they don’t define me, my diagnoses shape my approach to health law and policy personally and professionally. Similarly, my experiences of living in poverty, having been homeless, and surviving abuse inform my writing and advocacy.
All of my illnesses and experiences are often intertwined with health as a human right. They give more depth to policy discussions by providing context and the expertise that can only come from lived experience. Additionally, many of my illnesses and experiences are misunderstood and in writing about them, I hope to counter stigma and highlight important issues for vulnerable populations. while creating and sharing resources to empower others as they navigate health care and engage in policy in pursuit of health as a human right.
I currently define myself as a disabled patient advocate and health policy attorney. I received my law degree from the University of Colorado Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2008. I spent my last year of studies at the prestigious University of Houston Health Law and Policy Institute. I also attended the University of Colorado as an undergraduate. In 2005, I graduated summa cum laude from in 2005 with degrees in psychology and economics with an international emphasis and a minor in political science.
I have contributed to several publications including Health Law and Bioethics: Cases in Context and articles in the Journal of Experimental Psychology; Virginia Journal of Social Policy and Law; Journal of Medicine and Ethics; the Texas Bar Journal; and IBM developerWorks. I have also been cited in various publications, including in Politico and the New York Times.
I started my career working for the State of Texas, and was involved in the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions. Over the years, I have worked for several non-profit organizations including Disability Rights Texas, Texas Legal Services Center, and Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center. Since 2012, I have had my own private legal practice though I have not been able to work full time since becoming disabled in 2013.
In 2012 and 2014, I served as an ePatient Scholar for Stanford University’s MedicineX conferences. In 2013, I was a patient reviewer for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in the area of health systems. I worked with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in 2016 establishing model practices for patient centered medical homes. I have spoken around the country on patient panels including the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and Partnerships With Patients in 2014. I currently volunteer for T1International, developing advocacy materials and working with legislators around the country on policy issues affecting drug prices. In 2017, I created The Research Loop to involve patients and caregivers in giving research feedback and provide educational materials on research. In 2019, I created The Preface to Advocacy Project – an effort for seasoned advocates to share their wisdom on everything from the emotional side of advocacy to telling authentic stories with advocates who are just starting out.
Nothing in this blog is meant to give legal advice. Contacting me through this blog does not create a lawyer-client relationship.
The opinions expressed in these blogs are solely my own and are not those of any organization with which I, Erin Gilmer, am affiliated.
All posts are copyright 2011 to present by Erin Gilmer. Permission to quote or reproduce these articles is granted freely so long as attribution is given and the person or entity quoting the material receives no material gain as a result.