HARP Speaks Truth to History on the 30th anniversary of Shands Hospital UF Arts in Medicine

HARP The People’s Press is a healing arts publishing house that flies under the banner:

A healthy community knows its history

Many of HARP’s publications and postings on social media speak truth to history as its signature healing practice. As co-publishers of HARP, Dorothy Lander and John Graham-Pole were dismayed to find themselves having to speak truth to history in the context of the 30th anniversary of the founding of Shands Hospital Art in Medicine (AIM) program at the University of Florida. John is UF emeritus professor of pediatrics, oncology and palliative care, and co-founder of AIM and co-director of the Center for Arts in Medicine until his retirement in 2007.


The version of history in the August 2020 newsletter on the UF Health website and now circulating on social media is inaccurate and hurtful: it fails to acknowledge Dr. Mary Rockwood Lane, now a UF associate professor of nursing, as the co-founder of the Arts in Medicine program in 1990 and as AIM’s co-director for several years along with John Graham-Pole.

Although the rotating art exhibition program was an early presence at Shands Hospital, it did not become part of AIM for some years. It was Drs. Rockwood Lane and Graham-Pole’s “naming” of the program as Arts-in-Medicine in 1990, at that time funded by Children’s Miracle Network . That was the founding moment.

It is disheartening that in the online newsletter about the 30th anniversary of this program dedicated to the healing arts, the writer made such an incorrect statement, given that she had previously interviewed John Graham-Pole, who stressed that Mary Rockwood Lane, RN, PhD, must be acknowledged as AIM’s co-founder. The photo included in the article also fails to identify Mary Rockwood Lane as AIM’s co-founder.

Former first lady of Florida Columba Bush toured Shands HealthCare and met with leaders and founders of the AIM program: (L-R) Tina Mullen, AIM director; J. Richard Gaintner, M.D., Shands HealthCare CEO; Bush; John Graham-Pole, M.D., retired UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital pediatric hematologist/oncologist; Sue Gaintner; and Mary Lane, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN., associate professor at the UF College of Nursing.

We also want to correct the error in the then Shands Hospital CEO Paul Metts’ account of the pitching of AIM in 1992 to the Shands administration.


It was not “Graham-Pole and Mullen … [ who] pitched the unique initiative to Metts.”  It was Graham-Pole and Rockwood Lane, when they first received funding for AIM from Shands.  The current AIM Director, Tina Mullen, was not in the room. So it was not “the enthusiasm that John and Tina brought to the meeting [that] made such a strong impression, it would have been hard to resist their proposal.”  It was John and Mary.

Dr. Dorothy Lander,  Publisher, HARP The People’s Press



September 30, 2020, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

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