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Brittney Roy '08 Leads Arkansas in Public Health Policy

"You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. I didn’t, I still don’t, and no one does. Be kind to yourself. Don’t make friendships for the connections make friends with people that will help pull you through the rough times."

Brittney Roy ‘08 is putting her expertise and passion for public health policy to work in the fight to keep Arkansas safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. While she was a student at Episcopal Collegiate School, Alumni Director Ashley Honeywell remembers her as “having a commanding presence everywhere she went, whether in the classroom, on the volleyball court, or assisting in community service.” Twelve years later, Brittney is cultivating that same passion while working at the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences College of Public Health (UAMS) after earning an undergraduate degree in Gender Studies and a Masters in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, both from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Since the fall of 2018, she has served as Senior Health Policy Advisor and Agency Liaison for Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. Now during this unprecedented time, her responsibilities have greatly intensified. She is now stationed at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and the speed at which she receives and must disseminate information for Governor Hutchinson has quickly increased. She describes her roles as “serving as the main point of contact between the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Governor, making recommendations for policy development, and staying informed on state and federal laws and regulations related to public health and labor.” Always striving to be flawlessly prepared, she says her goal is “to present the most accurate and timely information to the Governor and her colleagues.”

With the constant reporting and media coverage of the pandemic, Brittney explains one of the challenges for her exists in sorting fact from fiction. In her own words, “The Governor and our Chief of Staff hold the policy team to very high standards, as they should. It’s important that my recommendations are based upon research, analysis, and coordination with community stakeholders.” Even though the last few months have not been what she predicted her job would ever be, she wants everyone to know, “I really do love what I do. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get upset or stressed at work. It just means that the juice is worth the squeeze. I feel like I’m making a difference, I feel like 20 years from now I’ll be able to look back and be proud. That’s the biggest thing, feeling proud and trying to leave a better future than what was left for me.” Through all of her long and hectic days, Brittney says that “The best part would be the people. It’s incredible what we can get accomplished when we all work collectively.” She credits her faith, her family, and her love of public health policy in keeping her inspired and motivated  to perform at a high level each day. Brittney also shared this advice for Arkansans as the state fights the virus: 

“There are so many people, experts, working to keep us all safe. Be sure to follow those physical distancing guidelines, wash your hands, and get tested if you are feeling sick. Be sure to check in on each other: find creative ways of staying connected while staying apart. We are all in this together. Be mindful of your physical, spiritual, and mental health.” 

While serving our state, Brittney is also serving in her second year as an active member of the Junior League of Little Rock, where she has volunteered for projects supporting Penick Boys and Girls Club, The Call, and UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History & Culture, to name a few. She is described by Membership Vice president Marly Gammil  as “ such a dedicated member, and it is always an honor to serve alongside her in the Junior League of Little Rock.”  In her roles of service, Brittney reflects upon her time at Episcopal Collegiate School as helping to prepare for her career. She readlity reminisces upon her enjoyment of daily Chapel with her classmates and explains, “Episcopal Collegiate helped me see the importance of being of service to others, whether it was volunteering or donating the bell (#classof2008isthebestever!). Not only did I receive an excellent education, I learned that our world becomes better when we complete good deeds that we may personally never reap the benefits.”  For the graduating Class of 2020, she offers this advice and encouragement:

“You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. I didn’t, I still don’t, and no one does. Be kind to yourself. Don’t make friendships for the connections make friends with people that will help pull you through the rough times. Make genuine connections with people that think differently and look differently than you. We can’t grow as people if we only deal with people that will cosign everything we say. Protect your energy and peace. Mistakes will happen, the important thing is to not get stuck there. Don’t let it play in your mind over and over. Learn from it, move on, and do better.”