When Amy Brin graduated from Ball State with a bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2000, she was “ready to change a little piece of the world.” By all accounts, she’s made a magnificent start.
Ms. Brin is currently the executive director and CEO of the Child Neurology Foundation, and has spent more than 20 years working with and advocating for children and youth living with special healthcare needs and their families.
She is a board-certified pediatric advanced practice nurse and has been a national consultant for establishing care systems for children and youth living with special healthcare needs. Ms. Brin is also a published author and a public speaker and has been involved with advising the White House on Digital and Community Health Programs.
Her latest honor? That would be being named to the prestigious National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council.
But when Ms. Brin first arrived in Muncie, becoming one of the nation’s most influential nonprofit leaders in the child neurology sector was the last thing on her mind.
Setting the Stage
An Illinois native, Ms. Brin came to Ball State on a Presidential Scholarship and decided to major in Nursing, and then changed her major to Communications.
“Even then, I believed that most good things in this world start with solid communications, and I will continue to hold that belief all my life,” said Ms. Brin.
She was eventually recruited to the speech team at Ball State: “I agreed to join because it meant a lot of travel, and I thought that would be a good way to get away from my boyfriend at the time,” joked Ms. Brin. “I also took advantage of the study abroad program, became more politically aware, and was truly focused on a career in communications.”
That led to her earning a master’s in political communications at Miami University, not knowing it would eventually open an entirely different career path.
Finding Her Passion
Ms. Brin’s first job after earning her master’s was a communications position with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), where she managed AAP policy and education efforts related to children with special healthcare needs.
“My experiences at AAP changed my life and set me on an entirely different course,” said Ms. Brin. “It seems that many people are not fortunate enough in life to find their absolute true calling, but I was so fortunate to find mine. I knew I wanted to immerse myself in helping kids with serious healthcare issues.”
Ms. Brin then earned a Master of Science in Nursing in Pediatric Palliative Care at Vanderbilt University, which led to nursing leadership jobs at two large hospices, children hospitals, healthcare consulting, and ultimately, her current position with the Child Neurology Foundation.
“Our focus is always on hope and finding new and better ways to help support children, their families and their medical providers,” said Ms. Brin. “But my experiences at the hospices stay with me to this day. It’s easy and somewhat natural to feel sorry for these kids, but for me to see their resilience and how they deal with the tragedy in their lives is truly my inspiration. They show nothing but love during their ordeals. For me, it’s been a priceless and invaluable life lesson.”
Ms. Brin’s appointment to the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council left her humbled.
“There’s a nomination process for new council members, but it’s all done privately, so I don’t actually know who nominated me,” she said. “But I’m truly honored and grateful.”
Ms. Brin joins the prestigious council of 20 leaders to share her expertise and experience working with patients and families living with neurologic conditions. In this role, she will advise the Institute on policy and priorities affecting extramural research programs and provide a second level of review for all grant and cooperative agreement applications considered by the Institute for funding.
“On behalf of the neurology community, we commend Amy for all that she’s done in service to patients and families, as well as medical professionals and researchers,” said Dr. Anup Patel, Board President of the Child Neurology Foundation. “We are confident that her leadership and passion for creating a better tomorrow for our neurology community will take the council to new heights.”
Her Love for Ball State
Throughout her career, Ms. Brin has never forgotten her Ball State experience, something she says provided the foundation to allow her to achieve her dreams.
“It’s the people,” she said. “I met my best friend at Ball State. I had a group of dedicated, caring professors who truly cared about me as a person and about my success.
“But most of all,” Ms. Brin continued, “Ball State gave me the underlying confidence to understand who I am and that I had the ability to succeed in wherever my dreams led me. I will always hold Ball State in a special place.”