Sticking with Zink: Alaskan restaurants use stickers of Dr. Anne Zink to fund meals for COVID-19 responders

(Alaska's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink. Courtesy Snow City Cafe Facebook)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska has a new celebrity in Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. Not only has she received national media recognition and a #ThinkLikeZink hashtag, but she is now being honored with stickers made in her image.

The stickers were first advertised on Snow City’s Facebook page and are being sold on its website with $5 out of the $6 sticker price going towards meals for COVID-19 responders. The stickers are being sold at all restaurants managed by Locally Grown Restaurants which includes Spenard Roadhouse, Snow City, Crush and South.

Lana Ramos, marketing manager of Locally Grown Restaurants, said her four-person marketing team wanted to do something good for the community. While the four had never met Dr. Zink in person, they had been inspired by her presence in press conferences, on TV news and radio and knew she was emblematic of the good they wanted to put out in the community.

“I think it’s her sensible science,” Ramos said on why she admired Dr. Zink. “I mean, she can explain things in a very black and white way that people can relate to.”

Snow City began selling the stickers on May 14 and once enough money is raised in sales, the restaurant will begin producing meals for first responders. Ramos said the stickers received a great initial response from the community and she is already planning on making another order.

Dr. Zink moved to Alaska 12 years ago but began her role as chief medical officer less than a year ago. Because of the coronavirus, Dr. Zink has become a prominent part of press conferences to the state, starting with the flight from Wuhan to Seattle that landed in Alaska to refuel. Her press conferences now have a surprising new addition.

“The first time I saw [the sticker] in person was on a water bottle at a press conference and it kind of caught me off guard,” Dr. Zink said.

While Dr. Zink has become one of the most recognizable faces of the coronavirus response in Alaska, she hopes a day will come where she can fade back into normal life.

“My job feels very much the same but when I step out of it I realize that more people are listening than I ever realized,” Dr. Zink said. “More than anything I want Alaskans to be healthy and well and if I can help do that in anyway then I am happy to do that.”

There are two stickers for sale. One depicts Dr. Zink as the face of the state, with her hair forming the outline of Alaska. The other sticker shows Dr. Zink from a web browser, a location most people watching press conferences affiliate her with.

Ramos said the sticker is just another step in creating a “little Zink army” of social distancers and hand washers. One of the first people to enlist in the effort to praise Dr. Zink was Genevieve Mina. When the phrase #ThinkLikeZink started taking off, Mina decided to share her alter tribute of the chief medical officer on Twitter.

“I love health care, I love health policy but I also love community and so I think the way she has been able to cut across a lot of the politicization of the pandemic and really get a basic public health message out on a regular basis is incredible,” Mina said.

Her alter, which is comprised of a photo of Dr. Zink, the state constitution and most importantly, hand sanitizer, was one way she made her hunkered down-home feel inspirational. While she has never met the doctor, Mina said she would stay six feet away and thank her for everything she’s done to improve public health in Alaska.

Dr. Zink, alongside Governor Mike Dunleavy and Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, has been at the front of Alaska’s COVID-19 response. Every time there is a press conference or public statement, Dr. Zink has been there with a report about the latest cases and health guidance. Her focus now, as the state reopens, is to make sure Alaskans are continuing to seek preventative care and get vaccinations since medical appointments have lagged through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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