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Grigg Retires from Public Affairs Career

A respected source of federal health news and information was lost Nov. 1 when Bill Grigg retired after more than 30 years in the federal government. He's been an award-winning spokesman for five federal health agencies — the Food and Drug Administration, the Public Health Service, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Toxicology Program and, finally, NIH's Office of the Director.

Most recently, he served for 4 months as acting deputy to the NIH associate director for communications. "I especially liked announ-cing our NIH employees' victory in keeping their jobs, beating a private contractor's bid to provide support for our research grant managers," he said.

Bill Grigg
Because he had been medical reporter for the old Washington Star, Grigg has known reporters' needs, appreciated their deadlines and won a reputation as a "no bull" straight-shooter. Between jobs at the Star and the health agencies, he was press and administrative assistant to Rep. Gilbert Gude, the environmentalist who helped save the C&O Canal and Glen Echo amusement park, and his successor, Rep. Newton Steers.

Grigg handled a number of high-profile controversies during his career. He was the news director for the FDA in the early 1980s when cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules killed seven people, spawning a crisis in consumer confidence and prompting anti-tampering drug packaging that is still common today. Grigg put his home phone number on press releases, to remain available to reporters throughout the crisis. He later helped FDA navigate cases of poisoned Chilean grapes, and the danger of children's aspirin as the cause of Reye's syndrome.

As news director at PHS, Grigg found himself in the midst of the medical marijuana controversy when his agency halted a federal program that had provided small amounts of free marijuana for medical purposes.

His media work broadened when he became director of communications for NIEHS, and its National Toxicology Program. Besides press, Grigg's responsibilities included oversight of a joint NIEHS-NTP journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, and a specialized library. He built up the institute's publications and video capacities to promote the theme, "Your environment is your health."

Grigg won a number of awards from FDA, the first two public affairs awards of the Department of Health and Human Services and 12 awards from the National Association of Government Communicators, among them a first-place "Blue Pencil" award. He also won two federal Merit Awards.

Known for his capacity to produce a clear, crisp press release in 10 minutes, Grigg has also written government pamphlets on environmental and genetic discoveries, fertility, pregnancy and teen health habits. He hopes now to "graduate to even longer forms of writing," which suggests a book or two, though he won't say. "The subjects will be health and environmental issues, for darn sure," he said.

CSR's Jerry Fried Bids Farewell

By Don Luckett

In the '50s, there were few treatments for a severe case of asthma. Dr. Jerry Fried's father was given only one option: leave New York City and move to Arizona. He embraced it with surprising vigor, becoming a cotton farmer in the suburbs of Phoenix, so he could breathe fresh air all day. Fried spoke of his father as he retired from the Center for Scientific Research, where he was scientific review administrator for the erythrocyte and leukocyte biology study section. He explained how his interest in scientific research grew with his father's cotton plants.

"My father had a theory that a lot of the cotton farmers didn't apply fertilizer and water properly," Fried explained. "He felt you could do better by using more water, especially during certain parts of the growing season."

Dr. Jerry Fried
In high school, he tested his father's theory in a controlled experiment on the farm. "It showed if you scale up the water and fertilizer it would make a significant difference," Fried said. There was thus no mystery why his father's yield was greater than others in the area.

Greater mysteries, however, lay ahead as Fried went to Caltech. He received his bachelor's degree there in physics with a minor in biology in 1958.

As he thought about graduate school, he decided to study electrical engineering. "It was more applied and somewhat different," he said.

After he received a master's degree from Stanford, the university started a new graduate program in biophysics. "The timing was very lucky," said Fried, who became one of the first students in the program. "I combined my interest in biology with my experience in physics."

He advanced research there on metabolic pathways in yeast by developing a mathematical model for studying the kinetic behavior of radioactive tracers.

"I wanted to compare the input and output signal...under steady-state metabolic conditions," he said. His experiments succeeded just like his earlier experiment in the cotton patch.

Once he earned his Ph.D., Fried returned to New York City. He soon joined the Sloan-Kettering Institute, where he had a 22-year research career. Working first in its biophysics division, he developed mathematical models of proliferating cell populations and computer programs to evaluate radiotracer data from leukemia patients in order to assess and advance chemotherapy. Fried and his colleagues were some of the first scientists to use flow cytometry. He continued this research when he joined the hematopoietic cell kinetics laboratory. Fried later became director of a fluorescence-activated cell sorter facility, which he used to further his and his colleagues' research.

After developing a successful program, he became interested in doing something different. When word got out in 1987, he was recruited to coordinate reviews for the pathology B study section at the NIH Division of Research Grants (now CSR). A year later, he moved to the hematology 2 study section.

"I enjoyed working with the people here and with my study section members," he said. "I also found it fascinating to get an advance look at what hematology will look like in the next 5 years."

He was so committed to the people and work that he delayed his retirement in order to help complete the recent reorganization of his integrated review group. "I wanted to see the new one get off to a good start," he said. Then-CSR director Dr. Ellie Ehrenfeld said she "couldn't thank him enough for his contributions." Dr. Joy Gibson, chief of CSR's cardiovascular sciences IRG, praised Fried for his "quiet competence" and noted that he produced "model summary statements."

Fried is looking forward to visiting his two sons in Los Angeles and Taiwan, learning Spanish and Mandarin, and studying comparative religion and philosophy. He also plans to make use of his new leisure time to develop closer ties with friends and family and to maintain an active lifestyle, both mentally and physically.

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