John Graham-Pole, M.D., MRCP, ABHM, a now-retired UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital pediatric hematologist/oncologist, UF professor emeritus of pediatrics, oncology and palliative care and medical director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, began writing poetry as a way to come to terms with being a cancer specialist for young people. It helped him and planted the seed of bringing art to the patient bedside.
Around the same time, Melvin L. Rubin, M.D., M.S.C., UF College of Medicine chair and an ophthalmology professor, hired Tina Mullen, director of the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program, as a consultant to see how art collections could positively impact the hospital.
After a year, Graham-Pole and Mullen learned of each other and decided to meet in front of the UF Health Shands Hospital Atrium.
“We decided we should join our forces, if you will, and from there it grew rather steadily,” Graham-Pole recalled.