John Graham-Pole

John Graham-Pole, MD, MRCP, ABHM
Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Oncology and Palliative Care, University of Florida 

Adjunct Professor, School of Education, St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia. John’s career as a practitioner, teacher, and researcher has included faculty appointments at the Universities of Glasgow, London, and Case Western Reserve. He was co-founder/co-director of Shands Arts in Medicine since its founding in 1991, and also of the Center for the Arts in Healthcare, Research & Education, University of Florida, since its inception in 1999. John was also one of the original organizers of the UF Center for Spirituality and Health. 

John has written/edited six books, and a CD of original poetry, as well as about 250 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters, and poems in refereed journals. He has become a short story writer, inspired primarily by his forty years as a doctor, and has finished his first novel. He is continuing to work in arts-based research, practice, and professional and popular education with his wife, Dorothy Lander, spanning the fields of arts and community health, palliative care, and holistic medicine. A consulting contract with Dorothy from the Canadian National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health ( resulted in the comprehensive research report, Art as a Determinant of Health (Lander & Graham-Pole, 2008).

Actively engaged in treatment of young patients who suffer from various forms of cancer, he supports the Society for the Arts in Healthcare and with Mary Rockwood Lane co-chaired its 2002 annual conference. He is a founder of the Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education and is prominently featured in a video report on its work titled Color My World.

John Graham-Pole and Dorothy Lander are the publishers and editors of HARP Publishing (Healing Arts, Reconciling People) – a multi-media publisher focusing on the healing arts and the arts for health equity. It is aimed at a popular readership of caregivers and care receivers, in both electronic and print media.

Title of UFCSH talk: “What’s known, what’s real, what’s good: Reflections on 40 Years of Science and Art in Medicine”
Monday, March 5, 2007
Poetry has been a way for me to humanize my relationships with those I serve. As a children’s hospice director, the narrative arts have helped me bear witness to short lives well lived, through requiems that express feelings of grief, failure, or even celebration.

Stanley Kunitz calls poetry our mythology —”the telling of the soul’s passage through the valley of life.” Communication shares root with community and communion, bestowing on it spiritual as much as emotional overtones. Theologian Matthew Fox in his book “Creativity” sees communion with the source of our being as the simple expression of creativity — something key to our health.

Reflecting on forty years as a doctor, drawing primarily on stories and poems of clinical encounters to pose some questions about the science and art of post-modern medicine. Contrasting the objective model (“science”) of medicine with the experiential, narrative model (“art”), and seeking a middle ground of interdependence between the two.