Vanderbilt University Medical Center Gratitude Tree unveiled

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) unveiled the Gratitude Tree, a first-of-its-kind digital art installation inside the hospital dedicated to its more than 28,000 doctors, nurses, and staff, while also celebrating the lives saved and honoring those lost in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. VUMC invites community members and individuals from across the country to submit their own notes of gratitude that will be displayed on the living art exhibit for hospital staff. 

VUMC is continuing to pave the way through this first-of-its-kind interactive hospital art installation. With the creation of the In Real Life (IRL) installation, VUMC continues to pay homage to its healthcare heroes in an innovative new way and invites the public to do the same.

“The past two years have been difficult for everyone, especially for our nation’s healthcare workers. Here at VUMC, our teams have treated tens of thousands of additional patients throughout the pandemic,” Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said. “Whether large or small, gestures of support have a powerful impact on the morale of those who are providing this care. Sharing a note of thanks through the Gratitude Tree offers everyone an opportunity to recognize the contributions of these tireless individuals in a special way.”        

Those choosing to participate will create and share their messages through the Gratitude Tree microsite at On the Gratitude Tree screen will be a QR code that takes visitors directly to the microsite to submit their note of gratitude. Individuals who submit notes will receive a shareable digital leaf to send to their online community and encourage participation across socials to grow the tree. With thousands of notes submitted, the exhibit will create a collective expression of Thank You, while allowing VUMC staff to read the notes as they pass by the exhibit throughout the day. 

The Gratitude Tree serves as an extension of the Gratitunes program, a nationwide platform created in 2020 to thank the medical staff on the frontlines of COVID-19 at VUMC and nationwide. Using the notes of gratitude as inspiration, singer-songwriters Mat Kearney and Devon Gilfillian will write and record the ultimate ‘Gratitune’ for VUMC staff. 

To learn more and to add a personal leaf to the Gratitude Tree, visit

About Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers and is one of the largest comprehensive research, teaching and patient care health systems in the Southeast. The most heavily utilized quaternary, referral healthcare facility in the Mid-South, VUMC’s sees over 2.4 million patient visits per year in over 160 locations, discharging 67,000 inpatients and performing 70,000 surgical operations.

The Medical Center is the largest non-governmental employer of Middle Tennessee citizens, with more than 28,000 staff, 3,000 of which are physicians, advanced practice nurses and scientists appointed to the Vanderbilt University faculty. For more information and the latest news follow VUMC on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and in the VUMC Reporter.  

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