Donnie Ross:  CV, April 2015


My name is Donald Ross, and I am 72 years of age.  My genome is 1.9% Neanderthal and 1.4% Denisovan, otherwise homo sapiens, predominantly Northern European but with a higher proportion of Mediterranean genetic material than the UK average.  My remote ancestors originated with a woman in East Africa 180,000 years ago, but they moved north about 67,000 years ago.  Following a spell of cold weather in central Asia they relocated westwards to the South of France for a bit of shopping while their Cro-Magnon menfolk got on with painting the caves.  Unfortunately I do not know any of their names apart from Lucy, the progenitor of all non-African people.  My paternal line took a different route out of Africa, over the steppes of eastern Europe to end up in south-eastern Sweden.  In more recent centuries, my maternal ancestors were blacksmiths in the highlands, governesses / domestic servants in Hong Kong and farmers in the North East.  My grandfather was castigated by his father for reading Burns' poetry while steering the horse-drawn plough: books were the work of the devil, and squint furrows were anathema.  My father's people were ship-builders and carpenters and emigrated from Aberdeen to Wales in 1800AD to build ships; some became tailors, and all were good with their hands.

After qualifying in Medicine at Aberdeen, I worked as a junior doctor in South London.  My work as a casualty officer involved setting fractures and dealing with a variety of wounds, collapses of unknown origin and road accidents.  Returning to Aberdeen I became an anaesthetist, a difficult and stressful craft.  During this time I began developing methods of visualisation and mental modelling for dealing with unpredictable situations.

I am proud of having been on Dr. Mike Tunstall's team of trainees in 1974, when he established the Epidural Service at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, transforming the Labour Ward overnight from a hellish zone of incessant screaming to a quietly efficient and predominantly happy place.   I spent a year in a children's hospital in Eastern Canada, anaesthetising everything from neonates to teenagers.  As a consultant in Aberdeen my main focus of interest included anaesthesia for thoracic surgery (predominantly lung cancer), ophthalmic surgery and general surgery.

Outside the operating theatre I developed properly-organised and often computer-based systems for rota-scheduling, manpower planning and the allocation & documentation of training for anaesthetists, and in the hospital at large developed a computer-based method of tracking the acquisition, maintenance and replacement of medical equipment - a vital activity in ensuring the development and stability of acute medical services.  As initially chairman and subsequently Clinical Director of a large and vibrant clinical department of anaesthetics & intensive care in one of the biggest single-site hospitals in Europe, I initiated a wide programme of robust re-organisation, rationalisation and expansion to meet increasing service workload and training demands.  I was responsible for managing a department of independently-minded and sometimes abrasive consultants as well as for the management and resolution of innumerable difficult situations involving interpersonal and inter-departmental conflicts.

I published about two dozen peer-reviewed scientific papers on diverse subjects ranging from the use of the first programmable calculator to solve physiological equations to the design and construction of fluidic-logic controlled lung ventilators to the use of computers in intensive care (Advanced Informatics in Medicine: the EC-funded AIM Project) to scoring-and-weighting methods of making difficult choices in allocating funding for service development in the NHS.  As Medical Director for NHSG Acute Services from 1994, analysing and resolving conflicts between individuals and between departments competing for scarce resources became a major part of my responsibilities, and I invested much time and effort in developing these skills over many years.   

 Creative Activities:

·1970:  Played the classical guitar part in performance of Kurt Weill's"The City of Mahagonny", by Aberdeen University Orchestra, conducted by Ian Kemp, at Marischal College, Aberdeen.

1973:  Classical guitar of own design and construction shown at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

 President Aberdeen Artists Society 1991-92.  Member of AAS selection and hanging committees on approximately 17 occasions.  Numerous works exhibited at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 1986 onwards - oil and watercolour paintings, photographs, acrylic and bronze sculptures.  Elected Professional Member of AAS, 2005.

Chairman of Grampian Hospital Arts Trust 2003-2014, a charity whose aim was to improve the visual environment of healthcare spaces in Grampian Region for the benefit of patients and healthcare staff.  (Founder member from 1985).

 Played a leading role in a video on telemedicine produced by BBC, 2005.

Contributor to conceptualisation & organisation of the Scottish 6 Cities Design Festival in May / June 2007.  (Also starred in video).

 Solo Exhibition of Watercolours, Oils, Sculptures and Photographs: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, November-December 1990.

 Watercolour exhibited in Retrospective Exhibition“Charles Hemingway and his Pupils”, Aberdeen Art Gallery, 1994.

 Solo Exhibition of Watercolours, Oils, Sculptures and Photographs: Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, May – June 2004.

Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland: First Prize and Artist of the Year 1994(Gold Medal) First & Second Prize, and Artist of the Year 1997 (Gold Medal)

 Inventions include a Laser-Controlled Fluidics Ocillator for Vapour Analysis (This project reached the regional semi-finals in a national competition 'ToshibaYear of Invention 1993' and was awarded a DTI Smart Award of £45,000 to aid development.)

Music:  Grade 7 Piano, ABRMS, 2004.  Very occasional public performances of own compositions & improvisations, live and on video.  Some "electronica" compositions published on, eg

Studied Reading Ancient Greek at Open University 2004/5 and 2005/6.

Paintings, photographs, short videos and sculptures in bronze, iron and resin exhibited in Dublin, Aberdeen and elsewhere at various exhibitions each year since retiring in 2003.  Portraits in oils incl. Professor Sir Graeme & Lady Catto and Family (GRDC was President of the General Medical Council): 2004, also Dr. Roelf Dijkhuizen and Family, 2007.

 Finallist in a competition to design a sculptural monument to the Scottish Missionary Mary Slessor,  Aberdeen City Council 2006.

·Designed CD cover for The Swing Doctors, 2007 (Jazz CD made by a group of doctorsled by Professor Hamish McKenzie, to help fund-raising for The Suttie Centre for Teaching & Learning).

 GHAT Advisor to the planning group responsible for commissioning artwork for the Matthew Hay Project at Foresterhill, Aberdeen, 2007. This is a £25M state-of-the-art teaching and training centre which opened in 2008 as The Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning.

 GHAT advisor on the visual environment for the Foresterhill Emergency Care Centre or ECC (a major upgrading of the hospital complex costing approximately £120M);  chairman of the Art & Environment Group (ECC) at Foresterhill, Aberdeen.  Chairman, Foresterhill Campus Art & Environment Group (FHCAEG) 2012 - 13, establishing it as NHSG's THE Group (The Healing Environment).

Almost single-handedly re-built the Pavilion designed by RGU’s Professor Jonathan Woolf and originally shown as a centrepiece of the 2007 Six Cities Design Festival, recreating it as a Forestry store & Sculpture Workshop, “Kinellar Shed”.  The 5-metre high building has a floor area of 78M2

 “Scunner in the Gallery”:  a short story in the Doric dialect, published in Pushing Out The Boat magazine, May 2010, + read at the WORD Festival.  "Bach in the Broch" to be published in POTB April 2015.

NEOS 2010 and 2011:  Exhibited art works + performance pieces at the Kinellar Shed.

Published a series of short stories and philosphical essays, on websites Rammenas and blogs Uncle Donnie’s Theory of Everything and Uncle Donnie’s Stories, on topics including the generation of meaningfulness through participation in creative activity, mental modelling and transferrable skills.

 Contributor to a collection of short stories "In These Hands", 2010, available from

Applications for grants for research into the effects of Art on the brain using fMRI, psychological and physiological measurements, in association with GHAT, UoA and RGU Gray’s School of Art.  Funded for pilot study, 2010 – 2011.

 Organised and chaired a series of three public Symposia at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, on topics concerning Arts in Healthcare, 2010 - 2011.

Talk on "Transferrable Skills in Medicine and Art", RGU Garthdee Campus, June 2012

 !Leonardo Mind for Modern Times:  An experimental novel (2012) in the form of a multi-media electronic book, available from iTunes / iBookstore worldwide:

Abstract painting hung (and sold) at the Spring Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW), Edinburgh, March 2013:

 Website, also:

 Chair, Steering Group for the Relocation of NMR-1, 2012 - 2014.  The prototype whole-body MRI scanner developed in Aberdeen was moved to the new Grampian Hospitals Art Trust facility (The Suttie Art Space) at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where it will be permanently on display.  I envisaged a programme of exhibitions and demonstrations for the advancement of public understanding of science and the arts.

During 2014 I've participated in approximately 14 art exhibitions including SMART Consultants /  UoA "Fabric of the Land", and during that year mounted three solo exhibitions.  Subsequently I had two watercolours shown in the RSW exhibition in Edinburgh in 2015.   I'm currently working on a series of 4 canvases measuring 1M X 3M, in oils:  the "Ripples Series".