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Kids make the difference for Emily Grant

Emily Grant, UC Irvine School of Medicine 2011 Graduate
Emily Grant gave birth to Ethan Riley during her last year of medical school.

After considering a career in internal medicine, she found her true calling

Emily Grant, M.D., ’11, planned to go into internal medicine. She had the perfect role model – a mother who started medical school at age 31 with three children at home, then went on to have two more children and built a successful internal medicine practice.  But, along the way, Emily’s plans changed. 

“I found that I have such empathy for kids,” says Emily. “Most often, their problems are not of their doing. I like being able to help them, and I really like working with their parents.”

Now, this honors graduate is seeing what her future might look like as a pediatrician. In fact, Emily is filling her life with children. In her last year of medical school, Emily took a page from her mother’s book, giving birth to a son, Ethan Riley.

“People told me I couldn’t have kids until I was done with my residency,” she says. “I thought, ‘First, it’s residency. Then, possibly a fellowship. Then I’ll be starting a career.’ There is no good time. So we just did it.” She is quick to add that her husband, Matt, is a very active father, making motherhood and residency possible.

Even before taking on the role of parent, Emily was busy. She served as a student representative for several courses, as Associated Medical Student Government vice president, and as a student representative on the School of Medicine Committee on Curriculum and Educational Policy. She was intrigued by the process of identifying what made curriculum work in one course, then applying that concept in another course.

From tutoring to coordinating the anatomy tutorial program, Emily embraced opportunities to support her peers. As a fourth-year student, she welcomed the chance to instruct first years on hand-held ultrasound diagnostics. 

summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (Biology, ‘05), Emily she says she felt comfortable on the UC Irvine campus from the beginning.

“The environment was welcoming,” she says. “Over the years, we did a lot of sharing, helping each other learn, seeing the greater good. In class, I felt welcome to raise my hand to ask a question. And, faculty had time to meet with me one-on-one.  I remember having trouble with physiology and Dr. James Hall sitting down with me and going over and over it until I got it.”

As a junior, Emily was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and she finished medical school with Honors in all six core clinical clerkships as well as her pediatric sub-internship. Her passion and performance earned her both the 2011 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduating Student and the Department of Pediatrics Award, which is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 4 and a bequest from the School of Medicine Alumni Association.

Today, this medical school alumnus is in her first year of the newly combined University of California, Irvine/CHOC Children’s residency program, which welcomed its first class in late June. Already, Emily’s commitment to excellence has earned her recognition as Anteater Intern of the Month for July. While leaving her options open, she is leaning toward a career in general outpatient pediatrics.

“I really like the preventive aspects of pediatrics – immunizations, nutrition, anticipatory guidance. Also, I think it would be fun to watch patients change over time. It would be fascinating to see what a person becomes,” she says.

Honors graduate. Parent. Pediatrician. It will be fascinating to see what Emily Grant becomes.