Henry the Hand’s History:

Henry the Hand was created twenty years ago when Dr. Will’s 4 young children started going to daycare. He wanted to limit the risk of exposure to the cesspool of germs they would come in contact with while at daycare. It terrified him to think about the different illnesses and germs that spread from child to child, child to teacher, and teacher to child. He was overwhelmed thinking about all of the germs that his children could possibly be bringing into their home after leaving the daycare. Dr. Will came up with an engaging and memorable way to educate his kids specifically about their hands so as 2-6 year olds, they would remember the importance of handwashing and Hand Awareness. It began as a talking sock puppet that evolved into Henry the Hand the talking hand puppet, ending with Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher as a cartoon character. Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher was created to change the handwashing behaviors of everyone by sharing his 4 Principles of Hand Awareness (endorsed by AMA and AAFP in 2001) with 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. He created a classroom curriculum that teachers and school nurses could use in their schools. The Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher costume was used to engage children while teaching them the importance of handwashing and Hand Awareness. Following the successes of Dr. Will’s classroom presentations, Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher started visiting more schools.

In 2001, Dr. Will 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 save lives!” Unfortunately, there was an effort to dismantle the coalition and the CDC created an internal hand hygiene work group instead. The CDC’s group is not currently being funded and it is not active today in spite of Dr. Will’s consistent requests to be a part of it. He is still very 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 field. Our Educational Posters are now translated into 20 different languages and we continue to encourage people to translate them into whichever languages they need.


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 an enthusiastic and motivated individual who is interested in helping to promote true primary infection prevention techniques and strategies.

In 2014, it became obvious that vaccinations alone do not protect an individual from “giving” (inoculating) themselves with the flu or many other respiratory infections. The techniques we have been teaching since 2001 are science-based and proven to reduce the spread of respiratory and gastro-intestinal illnesses 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 cross contamination 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 down 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”

IRS Public Charity letter

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


Please visit www.henrythehand.org for more information to help us “Spread the word, not the germs”!

Or call Global Handquarters  to jump start our 2015 Campaign! 513-769-HAND (4263).