The Foundation

The Foundation:
Henry the Hand Foundation is an enthusiastic grassroots non-profit organization (501c3) that uses our resources to teach the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness with children and adults across the globe.

Henry the Hand’s History:
Henry the Hand was created thirty years ago when Dr. Will’s young children started going to daycare because they were pulling the patient charts off the shelves once they walked into the Family Practice. He wanted to limit the risk of exposure to the abundance of germs they would come in to contact with while at daycare. He was well aware of the potential exposure and it concerned him to think about the different illnesses and germs that spread from child to child, child to teacher, and teacher to child. Overwhelmed thinking about the germs that his children could possibly bring home from daycare, Dr. Will came up with an engaging and memorable way to educate his kids about their hands as 2-6 year old children, to remember the importance of handwashing and Hand Awareness. It began as a talking sock puppet that evolved into Henry the Hand the hand puppet, ending with Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher as a cartoon character. As a result, Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher was created to change the handwashing behaviors of everyone by teaching the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness (endorsed by AMA and AAFP in 2001) to the world!

After receiving positive feedback from introducing Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher to his children, Dr. Will started to teach the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness to local preschool and kindergarten classes. We created a classroom curriculum that parents, teachers and school nurses could use in their schools. The Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher character was used to engage children while teaching them the importance of handwashing and hand awareness. Henry the Hand helps the message stick and the costume character is an unforgettable experience! After seeing the successes of Dr. Will’s classroom presentations in the 90’s, Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher started visiting more schools and had a very positive impact on students and staff. In 1999 Dr. Will helped spear head a coalition in SW Ohio and Northern Kentucky at the Health Collaborative to create the first National Handwashing Awareness Week during the first week of December because of Flu vaccine shortage. It was a fantastic success with a regional coloring contest and culminating in a televised demonstration of Malcolm Adcock Health Commissioner handwashing with Henry the Hand encouraging him!


Dr. Will saw this potential benefit and thought Henry the Hand and the Program should benefit the world and in 2000 founded the Henry the Hand Foundation to help spread the word not the germs using Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher as the character educator. Dr. Will started to attend conferences and conventions to talk about Henry the Hand and his Infection Prevention Education Program. On May 1, 2003, Dr. Will co-founded the Clean Hands Coalition with the CDC in the hope that it would nationally promote the mantra: “Clean hands prevent disease and save lives!” The CDC then created a separate, internal hand hygiene work group. Dr. Will is still involved with the Clean Hands Coalition and coordinates the monthly conference calls. Now, Dr. Will and Henry the Hand are known, in the United States and around the world, as the best behavior-modification program for hand hygiene by many experts in the health and education disciplines. Our Educational Posters are now translated into 23 different languages by volunteers and we continue to encourage people to help translate the posters into other languages.


Do you know anyone who can help us “spread the word not the germs”?

Dr. Will and the Henry the Hand Foundation are looking for enthusiastic and motivated individuals who are interested in helping to promote the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness and our primary infection prevention techniques and strategies.

As a member of the CDC Sentinel Surveillance for Influenza since 2004 it became obvious to Dr. Will that vaccinations alone do not protect an individual from “giving” (inoculating) themselves with the flu or many other respiratory infections that do not have a vaccine. So, it was obvious to Dr.Will there was a need to teach the individual how to prevent inoculating themselves with any viral infection that enters the community. The techniques we have been teaching since 2001 are science-based and proven to reduce the spread of respiratory and gastro-intestinal illnesses are based on the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness. Using multi-sensory, multi-media social marketing and positive deviance strategies, we train adults and children to be more “Hand Aware” (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and self-inoculation awareness). We want to keep students and teachers healthy and in school, create healthier and safer home environments, and increase employee productivity in the workplace!


Do you know anyone who may be interested in our efforts to help maintain healthier schools and workplaces this coming year?

We have the solution to prevent illnesses from closing schools, affecting employee productivity, and keeping patients in hospitals safe from contracting HAI’s, but we could use more help in getting the word out!


Our Vision:
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.


IRS Public Charity letter

For a copy of the recent IRS Public Charity declaration please click on the title above to view or download.

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