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Advocate Spotlight

April 29, 2024

Aura Guerrero – Staff Spotlight

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Meet Aura Guerrero

Aura Guerrero, a recent addition to the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), shares her insights as a Global Legal Advisor for the Food and Nutrition program. Coming from a background in human rights law, she navigates the intricate intersection of law, policy and public health to support legal and policy solutions that promote health equity, protect human rights and address the underlying determinants of poor nutrition.

Can you share your initial experiences and impressions in your role as a Global Legal Advisor for the Food and Nutrition program?

I've found the experience incredibly rewarding and stimulating. My role as a Global Legal Advisor for the Food and Nutrition program has allowed me to conduct a dive deep into the intersection of law, policy and public health. I've been particularly impressed by the team’s diversity and their different backgrounds, which bring a wealth of perspectives and expertise to our work. I'm excited to contribute to the impactful work being done in this field and to learn from my colleagues' varied experiences.

What motivated you to join GHAI? 

I was motivated to join GHAI because of its reputation for excellence in global health advocacy and its commitment to promoting health equity and social justice. I was also drawn to the opportunity to work with a diverse and talented team of professionals who share my passion for making a difference in the world.

Coming from your previous work at the Health and Human Rights Initiative, how have your experiences shaped your approach in collaborating with and supporting partner organizations in this program?

My experiences at the Health and Human Rights Initiative at the O’Neill Institute have greatly influenced my approach to collaborating with and supporting partner organizations in this program. I've learned the importance of building strong, trust-based relationships with partners, understanding their unique needs and contexts and empowering them to drive change in their communities. I'm committed to applying these lessons in my work at GHAI.

What aspects of the Food and Nutrition program have you found particularly interesting or challenging, and how are you navigating your role? 

I've found the Food and Nutrition program to be both interesting and challenging. The program's focus on promoting healthy diets and reducing malnutrition is crucial, but it also requires navigating complex legal, policy and political landscapes. I'm approaching these challenges by staying informed about the latest research and best practices, collaborating closely with colleagues and partners and advocating for evidence-based policies and interventions.

With your background in human rights law and public health, how do you plan to leverage your legal expertise in advancing the goals of the Food and Nutrition program at GHAI? 

My background in human rights law and public health uniquely positions me to leverage legal expertise in advancing the goals of the Food and Nutrition program at GHAI. I plan to use my knowledge and skills to support the development and implementation of legal and policy solutions that promote health equity, protect human rights (particularly children’s rights) and address the underlying determinants of poor nutrition.

Can you share any specific projects or tasks you have been involved in during your first few months, and how you see these contributions aligning with GHAI’s overall objectives?

During my first month, I was involved in several projects and tasks, including conducting legal research, analyzing policy documents and preparing advocacy materials. These contributions align with GHAI’s overall objectives by helping to strengthen legal advocacy efforts, build the capacity of partner organizations and advance policy changes that improve food and nutrition outcomes.

In one of my early projects, I contributed to drafting a response to the Australian Department of Health's public consultation on limiting unhealthy food marketing to children. Our submission highlighted Australia's obligation to regulate business activities affecting health, including the marketing and sponsorship of unhealthy food products. We emphasized the importance of ensuring children's access to sufficient quality and quantity of food while addressing the impact of unhealthy food marketing on their health.

Given your recent transition to GHAI, how are you adapting to the organization's approach to legal advocacy, and what unique perspectives do you bring to the team?

I'm adapting to GHAI's approach to legal advocacy by learning from my colleagues and drawing on my previous experiences. My background in human rights law has provided me with a unique perspective on the intersection of law, human rights and public health, which I believe adds value to the team. I'm excited to continue learning and growing in this dynamic and challenging environment.

What excites you most about contributing to the intersection of law, human rights and public health in the context of global advocacy? 

It’s an opportunity to make a tangible impact on people's lives. By advocating for evidence-based policies and interventions, we can help ensure that everyone has access to the food and nutrition they need to thrive. I am also thrilled that our work has a positive impact on underserved communities all over the world.

From your perspective, what role do you think legal professionals play in addressing global health disparities, and how do you see your contributions fitting into this broader context?

Legal professionals play a critical role in addressing global health disparities by advocating for policies and laws that promote health equity, protect human rights and address the social determinants of health. My contributions at GHAI, through legal research, advocacy and capacity building, aim to advance these goals and create a more just and equitable world for all.

Outside of your professional life, what interests or hobbies do you pursue, and how do they contribute to your overall well-being and effectiveness? 

In my personal life, I pursue several interests and hobbies that contribute to my overall well-being and effectiveness. I enjoy hiking and recently discovered a yoga class that I attend on weekends at the public library near my home. I also love traveling, reading and thrifting. These hobbies allow me to explore the world, reconnect with my body and immerse myself in nature, all of which help me recharge and stay balanced in my professional life.

I am also actively involved in professional organizations such as the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and a few Mexican organizations. These groups provide me with a sense of belonging and a supportive professional community, enriching both my personal and professional life.