NEWS | April 7, 2020

A community shows gratitude – written large in chalk


If you follow one of the most popular communication modes of our current era – sidewalk chalk drawings – the Sacramento community has a message for UC Davis Health: Thank you.

“Thank Yous” to UC Davis Health are coming in many ways from many sources. “Thank Yous” to UC Davis Health are coming in many ways from many sources.

Chalk drawings are scrawled with bright colors and gratitude on sidewalks and driveways near the UC Davis Medical Center and the Sacramento campus. Others are written on sidewalk squares in Tahoe Park and East Sacramento and River Park, a few miles away. They’re coming from children and adults, written to the public as best they can in social isolation, saying, as one did in Elmhurst in a palette of purples and reds, “Thank You UCD Med Workers.”

UC Davis Health has been on the front lines for nearly two months as stress and uncertainty grow. Many crucial providers and support staff are working shift after shift then going home and isolating. Others are staying home working long hours alone to supply support. It can be easy to forget that the region and the country are watching and rooting for what our teams are doing.

Seeing these simple, sometimes elegant messages can be an uplifting reminder that the community is cheering for UC Davis Health. Ask Chief Patient Care and Nursing Officer Toby Marsh. When he saw one, he tweeted, “This warmed my heart.”

Not all the sidewalk messages are drawn in chalk. One display in East Sacramento included carefully handwritten cards addressed to UC Davis Health. “You Rock,” said one in precisely printed letters. “Thank you for sacrificing your time and your life for the wellbeing of the rest of the world.” Another card shows a graceful hand holding the classic heart with a jagged EKG line inside. “Without all of you,” that card said, “we would be in trouble. You are so kind, brave, caring, etc. You are our real heroes!”

Tributes are also coming on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, no chalk required. One man who lives near the medical center tweeted a picture of his street at night, traffic lights glowing green – with zero cars passing underneath. He wrote: “UC Davis Medical Center is just down the road. As I walk out to the road and see cars approach, I just want to wave thank you, pray for your safety, and hope you stay safe.”

Sacramento Republic FC also has been marshalling support. They tweeted a request asking people to “share a message of gratitude for healthcare professionals at UC Davis Health” with a note, drawing, picture or video clip to thank all of the people “working tirelessly through these uncertain times.”

Some pets are joining in, too. One woman tweeted about the “love and appreciation” from Lena, a large, sincere-looking dog with earnest eyes, sitting by a sign that says, “Thank you, UC Davis.”

UC Davis Health is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. For more information, visit