Affiliate Professor, Executive MPH Program
“...I want to instill in them [students] a profound appreciation of the experience of other people. My catch phrase is, ‘relationships are the currency of the future.’ You can’t be an island in public health. It’s a team effort.”
“I’ve been an observer of great change in my lifetime,” says Fred Grant. “And it’s not just in technology, but a lot of the change has been driven by technology. Change makes life exciting…” Grant’s varied career path has been defined by many such changes and has been complemented by his innate love for learning and his openness to new opportunities.
When he was a high school senior, his dad encouraged him to take a typing class—a skill few men pursued at the time—and he immediately took to it. A year later, when he had graduated from high school, the Vietnam War draft was in swing, and he knew it was only a matter of time before his number would be called. So, instead of waiting for the inevitable, he enlisted with the Marine Corps.
Just as he was about to graduate from infantry training, Grant was singled out for his typing skills, which no one else in his unit had, and was selected for Naval Justice School. Once he was overseas, Grant was assigned to a unit that handled investigations. Later, while looking for jobs after the war, he stumbled upon key-punching, which, with his years of typewriting experience was a natural fit.
He started a key-punching business, went to school to study business, then found a data processing job at Georgia State University. He received his MBA, which exposed him to advanced statistics, then after graduation, he was hired by Lockheed Corporation who had a contract through USAID to process census data in Southeast Asia, which ultimately was his entryway to public health. He went on to receive his PhD in business, then enrolled in the EMPH program at Rollins while employed as a chief scientist and senior program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Public Health Division.
Upon graduation, staff within the EMPH program asked Grant if he would be interested in teaching, to which he gave an enthusiastic yes. Grant’s interest areas draw largely from his varied background and include bioterrorism, disease surveillance, public health preparedness and response, and public health informatics. Like the myriad skills he’s acquired over the years, his interests inform his teaching and allow him to provide a unique perspective to students in the EMPH program—many of whom may have also taken a circuitous route to public health.
“One of my goals is to expose students to a large amount of information in a meaningful way,” he says. “But, on top of that, I want to instill in them a profound appreciation of the experience of other people. My catch phrase is, ‘relationships are the currency of the future.’ You can’t be an island in public health. It’s a team effort.”