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 several autoimmune and chronic illnesses including mental health illnesses. Though they don’t define me, my diagnoses shape my approach personally and professionally and they include: Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Hypothroidism, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis/Inflammatory Arthritis, Herniated discs in my cervical spine, Occipital neuralgia, Cervicogenic headaches/Cervical Spondylosis without myelopathy, Endometriosis, Asthma, Chronic Pain, Hiatal Hernia with GERD, Carpal Tunnel, Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Bulimia, Diabulimia, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
Erin Gilmer is a patient advocate and health policy attorney. She received her law degree from the University of Colorado Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2008. She spent her last year of studies at the prestigious University of Houston Health Law and Policy Institute. Ms. Gilmer graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado in 2005 with degrees in psychology and economics with an international emphasis and a minor in political science.
She has 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.
Ms. Gilmer worked for the State of Texas, involved in the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions. She previously worked for several non-profit organizations including Disability Rights Texas, Texas Legal Services Center, and Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center.
Ms. Gilmer served as an ePatient Scholar for Stanford University’s MedicineX conferences in 2012 and 2014. She has served as a patient reviewer for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). She has spoken around the country on patient panels including the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and Partnerships With Patients in 2014.
The opinions expressed in these blogs are solely her own and are not those of any organization with which this editor is affiliated. Nothing in this blog is meant to give legal advice. Contacting her through this blog does not create a lawyer-client relationship. All posts are copyright 2011 to present by the editor. Permission to quote or reproduce these articles is granted freely so long as attribution is given.