Shands Arts in Medicine documentary to air on PBS

A documentary about the Shands Arts in Medicine program will be broadcast on PBS stations across the country beginning July 1. The hour-long film “Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine,” features UF College of Medicine faculty members (and poets) Rob Lawrence, M.D., Michael Okun, M.D., and John Graham-Pole, M.D., a former UF professor of pediatric oncology and co-founder of the hospital’s Arts in Medicine program.

With the goal of reducing the stress patients feel while staying in the hospital, UF College of Medicine doctors and Shands nurses established the Shands AIM program with local artists in 1990. Over the past 18 years, the program has grown into one of the largest arts-in-medicine programs in the country, with artists in residence and volunteers working to bring every style of art, from ballet to Bach, into the hospital.

The filmmakers spent three days collecting footage of the Shands AIM program in action after meeting Gail Ellison, Shands AIM writer in residence, at a conference.

Broadcast dates include: North Central Florida, WUFT at 1:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., July 1; Jacksonville, WJCT in September; Pensacola, WSRE at 10 p.m., July 8.

For other broadcast dates, check local listings or visit