Stephen Colbert in home studio for #ThankYouFrontLine covid campaign

Celebrities Salute Columbia and NYP Workers on the Front Lines of COVID-19

April 15, 2020

New York celebrities are leading the charge to recognize Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian health workers and staff who are working tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert (whose father, James, graduated from Columbia's medical school in 1945), actress Kerry Washington, and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda are among dozens of Hollywood and Broadway stars using their social media platforms and the hashtag #thankyoufrontline to express their gratitude.

The campaign, which began April 13, not only salutes our health care providers but also the maintenance teams, food service professionals, EMS workers, and others who have responded to the pandemic.

Kerry Washington thanks Columbia University Medical Center staff on Instagram
Click here to view Kerry Washington on Instagram: “New York may be the epicenter of the virus, but it is also the epicenter of front-line heroes fighting to save lives. So, today I want to thank the administrative staff, unit clerks, and patient service workers at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia Medical because they are braving the frontlines, ensuring that all departments run smoothly at all costs. So please join me if you can, only if you can, every little bit helps. Either way, please acknowledge the front-line heroes in your life. Who do you want to express gratitude for? Thank you front line.”

Many celebrities and their fans also are making donations to Columbia University Irving Medical Center and its partner NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. In the first 24 hours, the campaign reached over two million social media users across the globe and yielded nearly 200 donations ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. 

Other celebrities who have participated in this campaign include Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Gilbert Gottfried, Andy Cohen, Idina Menzel, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Lupita Nyong’o, Cynthia Nixon, Zac Posen, Marisa Tomei, Allison Pierce, and Josh Groban.

Michael J. Pitman, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology/head & neck surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, brought the campaign to fruition.

Lupita Nyong'o on Instagram thanking frontline workers at columbia university irving medical center and NYP
Click here to view Lupita Nyong'o's full-length Instagram video: "I want to thank the ER doctors who were first to the fight and will fight to the finish. And all the staff who ensure that lives are saved. Thank You Front Line."

 “People across the world, but particularly here in New York City, are looking for ways to express their gratitude to everyone working to help COVID-19 patients,” Pitman said. “I’m happy to do anything I can to help my colleagues across CUIMC and NYP feel that their tireless work is noticed and appreciated.”