CULT CHARACTERISTICS OF SHANDS ARTS IN MEDICINE PROGRAM
This is a July 30, 1999, update, followed by an August 24, 1999, update,
and continuation of the discussion of aspects of the University of Florida
Shands Hospital Arts in Medicine program found at
Cult Characteristics of Shands Arts in Medicine Program Continues .
- In the previous section it is mentioned that the head of the Arts in
Medicine music section was not aware of the complaint about my (Bob
Allston) piano playing. Apparently she was contacted and kindly furnished
me a copy of the complaint in the email below:
- Her email contains the complaint (email) addressed to John Graham-Pole
followed by her analysis of the matter.
- Dear Bob,
- After reading your website update, I wanted to let you know that there
was a legitimate complaint RE your piano playing. Here is a copy of the
e-mail message John received.
- To: GRAHAJR@peds.ufl.edu
Subject: music???/Murdering music
- Dr. Graham Pole,
- We in the H.IR.M.Department are privileged to see and hear many
lovely performances thanks to the ARTS in Medicine program.
- There is one performance we are begging someone to stop or at least
- There is a man whose name we do not know, who bangs and plays piano
mercilessly. Up and down the keyboard. No songs just endless scales.
The noise comes through the walls (very thick fire walls) One of the
employees was heard today yelling out loud, "I can't take any more!" Even
the candy cart has problems getting help because the women can't take this
abuse. Please Help. I have been ask to write about this and it is my joy
to do so.
- Thank you for your time and consideration.
-- End --
- As you can see, these are people who work nearby and are there all
day. I think John and Tina came up with a fairly reasonable solution in
having you play later in the day when people from this department might be
gone. But the problem stems from what we talked about at the very
beginning of your coming aboard, the fact that you need to put endings on
the pieces and make them shorter. Since this suggestion was made early on
in your performances here, I wouldn't think you would feel "singled out"
in being asked to limit your playing due to a complaint - especially from
more than one person. We have definitely had to limit and even stop
certain kinds of performances due to complaints before, so it's just
something we all live with and try to work with as best we can. Our
purpose here is, after all, to make things less stressful for the people
here (including staff, who pass that on in the way they deal with patient
care), rather than more. We certainly want you to continue to play, as
Tina expressed, and I think the proposed solution is a reasonable
compromise under the circumstances.
- Take care.
- Comment by Bob Allston: After receiving this, I checked with the
receptionist in the HIRM department who said that the piano could scarcely
be heard anywhere in the department. I checked with the candy cart people
(President of the Hospital Auxiliary), who said that my playing wasn't a
problem. The piano is a baby grand which I play with the lid down and the
Atrium and associated space is around 10,000 square feet. I checked with
hospital security who said that the wall between the piano and the HIRM
department was in fact a firewall. I would assume the single door going
into the area is also a fire door. The piano is about 15 feet from the
door. As well, of course, there are often functions such as blood drives,
sales, orientations, going on in the area which can be quite noisy. Thus
one would assume the architects would have provided for sound proofing in
adjacent office areas. Thus on the face of it, it would be difficult to
expect sound from the piano to get into the area. Another area that is
more open to noise than the HIRM department is the pharmacy which has an
open counter although further from the piano. The person I checked with
there did not recollect that they had had a problem with piano noise. It
is also fair to say that the description of the noise doesn't fit my
- The next email is from Tina Mullen to me requesting a meeting to
discuss my Web site. (Neither John nor Tina had expressed any desire to
discuss any Web site issues at the previous meeting regarding the piano
Thu, 08 Jul 1999 15:43:04 -0400
- will you meet with john and i on monday the 12th at 12noon in john's
office regarding the content of your website?
- The next email is from me to Tina Mullen, requesting to put the
meeting off to the following week. The reason I made this request is that
I had been diagnosed (biopsy) with prostate cancer a few weeks earlier and
had pre existing appointments to meet with Shands doctors both on the day
Tina was proposing for the AIM meeting as well as the following day to
discuss the various treatment options. The options (surgery/radiation)
were complex requiring a decision which I'd have to live with for the rest
of my life and I wanted the week free of my volunteer obligations to put
my mind on the matter. (However that was not to be.) The email
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 12:22:35 -0700 (PDT)
Bob Allston email@example.com
- I appreciate your interest. I could have met with you this week but
next week I've got a lot to do. Lets shoot for the following week if you
- Also the site covers a lot of things, so please let me know
specifically what subjects you'd like to cover. Most of the paragraphs in
the site are numbered so perhaps you could give me some paragraph numbers
- The next email is from Tina Mullen to me, on the (Monday) morning
of the proposed meeting, advising me she is seeking date and time options
from John for extending the meeting date.
- Date Mon, 12 Jul 1999 0827:17 -0400
From: "Christine Mullen" mullecm.Marketng@shands.ufl.edu
- i will check john's schedule at send you date and time options
- The following email was received the same Monday afternoon,
dismissing me from the Arts in Medicine program and barring me from the
Hospital. As set out below, copies of the email were sent to six people,
none of whom I knew the name of except John Graham-Pole. Two weeks later,
I discovered the capability of getting names from email numbers and I have
added the names and their positions at Shands as you find them, to the
- Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 15:42:47 -0400
From: "Christine Mullen"firstname.lastname@example.org
BARREDJ@peds.ufl.edu, Douglas J. Barrett, Chair. Dept. Pediatrics
GRAHJAR@peds.ufl.edu, John Graham-Pole
KISSIWJ.HRESOURC@shands.ufl.edu, Wendy Kissinger
email@example.com, Marilyn Tubb
VAHLE.ENGOPS@shands.ufl.edu, Kurt M. Vale, Security, Shands
WIGGLSE.HRESOURC@shands.ufl.edu, Head, Volunteer Services, Shands
--- Christine Mullen MULLECM.MARKETNG@shands.ufl.edu wrote:
- I am sorry you were unable to meet with Dr. Graham-Pole and I this
morning. The meeting was quite important and long overdue. After
discussions with other hospital departments, we are releasing you as an
Arts in Mediicne volunteer and insist that you make no further attempts to
enter the property unless for medical reasons. It was our intention to
issue to you a trespass warning to emphasis the importance of this
matter. Please note that the content of your website, while contrary to
the nature of Shands Arts in Medicine program, is NOT the reason for this
action. It is your actions since the posting of this information towards
those who have attempted to correct some of the misinformation it
contains. Further, your excessive loitering in public and family areas
continues to draw complaints. Finally, your suggestions that individuals
in the Arts in Medicine program are making attempts to "sabotage" your
life are distressing. The best action for all parties is for you to
disassociate yourself with this program and this hospital.
- Tina Mullen
- Analysis: Thus on the morning of July 12. 1999, I was a member of Arts
in Medicine in apparent good standing, with Tina Mullen agreeing to change
the meeting date. I was also at the top of the list of AIM volunteers in
the AIM Web site. I was also working on the AIM web site although we had
not been able to obtain a computer with the necessary equipment to proceed
with the task. And that afternoon, without notice of any kind, I am
suddenly judged unworthy to be in either the Arts in Medicine program or
even the hospital.
- The only thing that happened during this short time interval that I am
aware of is that I was in the Atrium seeking information about the piano
noise and who the person named Janette was who had made the complaint.
- Indeed for a time while I was there, there was a woman I could easily
identify who I've seen many times going to and from the HIRM department
sitting as close to the piano as the seating would allow holding a book. I
don't recollect her sitting down previously. Possibly this was Janette or
a friend looking to see if I was investigating the noise issue.
- Something along these lines is the only explanation I can give for
taking such a radical course.
- Its not my intention to dispute the contentions of Tina's email here
in detail. However there are a few points worth noting. I had repeatedly
requested to see John Graham-Pole for months about subjects in the Web
site and he had promised to do so but this is the first time any meeting
had been offered to do so. It was certainly long overdue but it was
because of his stalling. I have no idea what she is talking about
regarding my "actions" toward those she claims have attempted to correct
some alleged misinformation in the site. The only person I can think of
off hand who has asked me to change anything is Don Lutz and I declined to
do so but included his entire email to me on the subject to be fair to
him. He also has two Web sites of his own that he can place anything on he
- Whatever complaints against me regarding the issue of alleged
loitering have not come into my hands or knowledge except for the
previously mentioned BMTU visiting room and I haven't set foot there since
I was told this. As far as the piano is concerned, I never played it
after I was told to reduce my playing. In general all of my behavior
around the hospital is well within the bounds of what I've seen others do
who presumably have not been charged with "loitering"; and I have
respected any request regarding it, although I don't remember off hand
being asked to change my behavior in any way outside of the BMTU waiting
room and piano issue.
- I have volunteered at the VA hospital across the street for longer
than Shands and to my recollection I've never been told I needed to change
my habits or behavior for the year and a half that I've been there.
- Her statement that I am claiming AIMers are attempting to sabotage my
life is equally ridiculous. Indeed the July 3, 1999, update (currently
paragraph 60) to this Web site states as follows: "In my Web site on the
legal profession, I use terminology such as corrupt, degenerate, greedy,
arrogant, etc., in describing lawyers. You won't find any such terminology
anywhere in this site. To the contrary, AIM has been good to me and it has
many great people that I have very much enjoyed working with."
- In short, Tina's email is just the obligatory discrediting/smear
document to send to people in the hospital who have little or no knowledge
of the situation except what she may have previously furnished them to
justify her radical action and destroy my credibility and get me out of
the hospital before I can learn more of the truth about this (or other)
- On the following Tuesday and Wednesday (July 13, 14), I contacted the
head of Shands Volunteer services, Sandra Wigglesworth, furnishing her
with copies of the email leading up to the incident, as discussed here,
and requested an audience to present my side of the issue which she agreed
to. However, on contacting her office again on July 22 and 23, I was
unable to speak to her but was told the matter was still under
investigation, and I've heard nothing more to date.
- One would expect any large progressive organization to have a
procedure in place for objectively reviewing any such radical moves by
staff regarding patients, volunteers, staff, etc. Its not so much a legal
matter but of learning about and protecting against abuses.
- In this particular case, the hospital would want to be sure the
complaint against me was genuine; for a false complaint could of course
suggest serious underlying problems. For instance, what motivated it and
who if anyone put the complainant up to it?
- Thus it should be determined who was screaming they can't take it
anymore and where they were when they screamed. What is the sound level
there? What was the nature of the playing-- mine or someone else's? Who
made the complaint concerning the candy cart? What is the sound level
there? If the complaint was false in any way, what motivated it?
Particularly under the circumstances of this affair, I think I should have
the right to examine any circumstances that appear to be contradictory to
results that I've already found.
- So far, this affair falls substantially short of what might be
expected from an enlightened organization under such circumstances. Tina's
email does not accord me any avenue of appeal of her radical action nor
has anyone else advised me on the matter. I don't know who ordered me
barred from the hospital, on what authority, or on what specific grounds.
I have not been accorded the opportunity to discuss the matter with anyone
nor have I been invited to do so. I haven't been accorded the opportunity
to furnish evidence or present witnesses or character witnesses. I have no
idea of who or what section of the hospital is delegated, if any, to
examine such matters. I don't know at this late date if the volunteer
office is in essence representing me, the hospital, Arts in Medicine, or
some other entity. Being barred from the the hospital I am unable to
examine the matter or talk to anyone who might shed light on it.
- The hidden hand of lawyers? I have Florida's top Web site on the
subject of legal reform and lawyers are prone to attempt to discredit me
when the opportunity arises. Thus, Shands or
other lawyers may have reviewed this action for various reasons and could
be further exacerbating what so far appears to be a one sided handling of
- Forcing me out in this less than enlightened manner will not of course
change the long term course and viability of Gainesville AIM. For I think
this situation makes it increasingly clear that Gainesville AIM has been
able to proceed on a narrow selective course largely outside of
academic/research/scientific norms due almost entirely to the strength of
the personalities of its founders. And thus its niche is artificial and
fragile owing almost its entire existence to their support as opposed to a
niche that is a product of fundamental social/cultural/economic forces
employing a cross section of people from a broad range of
- Of course when the day inevitably comes when this protected
environment falters, AIM will have to find its social/cultural/economic
niche or perish. That is it will have to deal realistically with whether
it can do the job as well or better than other professions such as the
therapy professions and whether it must begin a serious effort to prove
its effectiveness in a competitive environment, and of course to do so, it
will then have to quit making unsubstantiated claims and adopt universally
acceptable academic/research/scientific modus operandi; all of which is of
course what this site is all about.
- August 24, 1999, update. It is now about six weeks since having been
evicted from AIM and barred from Shands Hospital; however nothing has
changed. And, for my part, since I was promised I would have the
opportunity to be heard, I haven't approached anyone about the matter.
- At the same time however, rather comicly, my precipitous fall from
grace hasn't stopped Arts in Medicine from still promoting me as one of
their top volunteers in their Web site
(downloaded to this site yesterday.) The actual Arts in Medicine site
is located at link
. With this attention being drawn to their less than logical
modus operandi, it will be interesting to see how long my name will
- There are of course many more volunteers than the four displayed here
that deserve to be on the site. Indeed, the site had been very nicely done
by a UF student Web artist hired for the purpose but who had graduated and
left school; and thus as a volunteer, I was attempting to complete the
site. But even working with the kind assistance of Dick Ruble, the Shands
Webmaster, Arts in Medicine couldn't even come up with a single computer
that I could employ to access (FTP or otherwise) their own site.
- I should mention as well, that I have enjoyed much camaraderie over the
past year or more with the other four volunteers named in the site. Two of
them are excellent pianists and play the piano, as I did, in the Shands
Atrium and one of them is a fine artist who has kindly given me rides
around town on occasions and the other is a fine sculptor, one of whose
works stands in the hospital solarium. I shouldn't forget Cathy DeWitt
either, my "boss", as head of the music section, with whom it was always
very enjoyable to work with. To suggest that I am saying they, or any
other AIMers for that matter, are attempting to "sabotage my life" is,
for lack of any other way to describe it, simply laughable.
- Finally, in this update, I'd like to take issue with my new
characterization as a vagrant and socially undesirable person unfit to
walk the halls of Shands Hospital. Much of this affair has to do, directly
or indirectly, with Don Lutz and his support within AIM; and thus some
comparisons on the subject of socially undesirable behavior is in order.
The following is taken from the page in this
site about him:
- Most of the following things were told to me by Don himself, without
any promise from me of secrecy, and they are common knowledge among many
AIMers and others; and many of them are a matter of public record:
- If you read his Web sites, it is apparent Don considers himself to be
somewhat of a teacher and moralist. At the same time he has a history of
behavior that doesn't support what most mainstream people would view as
making the best teacher or moralist.
- He obtains welfare in the form of food stamps and public housing. For
those who need it of course welfare is justified and necessary. However
Don is basically healthy with no dependents and could manage without it.
He is also a marijuana user which is expensive. (As well, some years ago,
he was a dealer in crack cocaine and convicted of it.)
- Due to his vegan diet, he will eat almost none of the food that is
available for indigents such as two day old bread, etc.; which of course
is of no cost to either taxpayers or society.
- He also, for instance, pays $20/mo. for each one of his two Web sites
($480/yr. for both), one promoting veganism and related issues, and the
other promoting marijuana. (He could also obtain his Web sites free, as
most people of modest means do, if he cared to.)
- In essence, the taxpayers through welfare, are paying for his
marijuana use, vegan diet, and his Web sites promoting both.
- At the same time, AIM's mission is not of course to promote either
vaganism or marijuana. Don is also paid through the Arts in Medicine
program from taxpayer, grant, or other hospital sources and there are of
course many worthy students struggling to get an education that could use
the employment and income as well. These facts were current as of January,
1999, and of course its possible some of them might have changed.
- For my part, even though I am newly characterized as a vagrant and
social undesirable, I have never been on welfare of any kind even though I
have been admittedly penniless with no income, and have qualified for both
housing and $120/mo. in food stamps, since
becoming involved with the legal system five years ago. And it has
meant that I have gone hungry and had no place to live at times during
- And its worth noting that placing those legal affairs linked to above
on the web, against the advice of friends, has also meant that those who
have reason to discredit me, have a ready source to use against me. And
of course, as suggested in my previous update, it may be happening in this
- I have also never even sampled any illegal drugs, including marijuana
- As a minor point, this Web site is also furnished without cost to me
by the kind sponsors and support people of the Alachua Freenet; for which
I am very appreciative.
- It is worth noting that I was never paid anything by the Arts in
Medicine program as well; although to be sure I didn't expect anything.
For in general one doesn't volunteer with any organization with the
expectation of employment barring some special arrangement to that
- However, I furnished hundreds of hours of volunteer time playing the
piano, selling flower pots, and doing numerous other things, including
writing good papers on issues of importance to Arts in Medicine, with the
expectation of something more.
- At the same time of course, I enjoy writing for the Web and it is
rewarding to have authored the Web's most comprehensive site on Arts in
Medicine as a result of my volunteer work. And of course knowing others
around the world will thereby be able to avoid some of the program's
pitfalls is of course a substantial reward as well.
This is a page in the Web site entitled Mainstreaming Arts in Medicine.
Copyright © 1999, Robert Allston. All rights