We are a 501c3 Non-Profit Foundation dedicated to improving community health and wellness by making people aware of the role their hands play in the spread of infectious diseases, using several different multi-sensory and media techniques. We teach non-pharmaceutical infection prevention strategies (Hand Awareness: hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and self-inoculation awareness) to prevent people from contracting or spreading respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections.
Our Educational Programs are based on the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness packaged in Infection Prevention Tool Kits tailored to different settings that can be implemented in the home, school or community. They are science-based educational resources that utilize a positive deviance strategy using multi-sensory and multi-media reinforcement tools that are used repetitively throughout the school year to improve the health of the school community, students, staff and families.
In 1999 Dr. Will helped spearhead a coalition in SW Ohio and Northern Kentucky to create the first National Handwashing Awareness Week during the first week of December because of Flu vaccine shortage. As reflected in the health of the region that year it was a FANTASTIC success! A public private partnership that promoted a regional coloring contest in the schools and culminated in a televised demonstration of Malcolm Adcock Health Commissioner handwashing with Henry the Hand cheering! Over the past 20 years we have collaborated with state and local health departments, healthcare systems, national health and prevention organizations (APIC, AAFP), the CDC, USDA, FDA, Universities, schools, Kroger’s, Walgreens, and Costco. We continue to facilitate the monthly conference calls for the CHC (The Clean Hands Coalition) that was co-founded May 1, 2003 by our own Dr. William Sawyer. We have done research work with the local University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UCCOM) and Bethesda North Hospital in the areas of hand hygiene knowledge and behaviors of healthcare workers. We have presented at Early Child Education, School Health, Healthcare, Food Safety, Prevention and Environmental Health conferences. We believe that public health is better served by being proactive rather than reactive. The CDC and other health departments do a good job determining the epidemiology of an event, but where they are lacking is in teaching the public Infection Prevention techniques for seasonal and annual respiratory infectious diseases.
We want EVERYONE to practice the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness for Good Health!
This is the Best Practice behavior change program that integrates hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and self-inoculation awareness into one simple “Hand Awareness” program that teaches the individual about the role their hands play in the spread of infectious diseases. Our Infection Prevention “Hand Awareness” Program raises your awareness about the importance of not putting your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth (the 4th Principle of Hand Awareness) because it is the most common way to contaminate or inoculate yourself. Improving the general public’s awareness of this single behavior can help prevent a pandemic! Don’t forget that the ten most deadly weapons are your fingers!
We encourage parents and health professionals to “Adopt a School” (daycare, Head Start program, pre-school, or school) in their community to act as ambassadors for Henry’s Infection Prevention Program, which allows them to take a leadership role in teaching health education.
History and Motivation Behind Creating Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher:
The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness are the basis for the Hand Hygiene program I created that started when my children were in daycare in the early 90’s to help them stay well. We gave baby wipes to the daycare and asked them to wipe every child’s hands 4 times per day and taught the staff and children to cough /sneeze into their elbow, not their hand. At home, I played with a sock “Henry the Hand” asking the children if they had or directed them to wash their hands. They were healthier than other children in the neighborhood who were cared for at home. Seeing the benefit to my family, I created the Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher character and a curriculum in a Tool Kit to teach both adults and children.
I have seen the benefits in my practice since 1986 and when we had children in late 80’s and early 90’s it became more personal. As I developed the knowledge that viral infections are the leading cause of many chronic diseases (Diabetes, thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.) and the severe complications of acute diseases. I realized that no one in Public Health or Health Care was teaching the critical role that the facial mucous membranes (T Zone) play in an individual’s health. Since 1986 as a family medicine physician, I have been a teacher/coach for patients on how to change their personal behaviors for better health outcomes. As an allergic and asthmatic individual, I am acutely aware how this can lead to increased facial mucous membrane touching (rubbing itching etc.) combined with one event 17 years ago. When looking into a patient’s throat and doing a swab they coughed in my face and I felt the droplets hit my face. Two days later I manifested the symptoms the patient had. Since then, I have worn a HealthShield (face shield) when seeing a patient suspected of having a respiratory infection and have not been sick with a respiratory infection since. Furthermore, I created the Henry the Hand Foundation in 2000 because I saw this would reduce the impact of infectious disease on the individual and public health. Leading to healthier learners and to better prepare students for careers in health care, public health, food service, and many other industries where being mindful of your hand behavior is important.
To improve everyone’s health by raising awareness about the role hands play in the spread of infections. “Hand Awareness”
Keeping Schools healthy by providing a simple, multi-sensory Infection Prevention Program teaching the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness.
We encourage parents and health professionals to “Adopt a School” (daycare, Head Start program, pre-school, or school) in their community to act as ambassadors for Henry’s Infection Prevention Program in a Tool Kit, which allows them to take a leadership role in teaching health education, benefiting community health and wellness.
We are a small but enthusiastic 501c3 Non-Profit Foundation and we need your help to share this message with others, which will benefit all of us!
Please contact us to help “Spread the word not the germs”!
Dr. Will Sawyer
For a copy of the recent IRS Public Charity declaration please click on the title below to view or download.