How You Can Support the Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety

Dr. Evelyn McKnight is a nationally recognized patient safety advocate and survivor of one of the largest viral outbreaks in American health care history. An audiologist and mother of three, Dr. McKnight was battling a recurrence of breast cancer in 2002 when she learned she had been infected with hepatitis C during her treatment. Nurses working under the direction of her oncologist had reused syringes to access multi-dose vials of saline used as part of her treatment regimen. As tragic as Evelyn’s experience was, she was not alone. A total of 99 patients—all of whom were gravely ill and waging the battle of their lives against cancer—were infected. Dr. McKnight turned her own personal tragedy of being infected with Hepatitis C into a crusade to save lives. 

Evelyn, her husband Thomas McKnight and Travis Bennington formed Hepatitis Outbreaks’ National Organization for Reform, or HONOReform Foundation, in 2007 to protect patients through safeguarding the medical injection process, and to encourage health care providers to follow fundamental injection safety practices.

When HONOReform Foundation began, it was the only organization that was educating the public about injection safety. Working with the CDC Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HONOReform was involved in the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC), which was formed to raise awareness and provide resources and tools to help prevent unsafe injection practices. Because of HONOReform’s work and this coalition, we now have greater awareness and resources, including nine state injection safety educators and many other volunteers who educate professionals and consumers about injection safety. SIPC’s One & Only Campaign, an awareness campaign developed by CDC and the CDC Foundation, provides educational tools and resources.

With more resources and information about safe injection practices now available, and with the impact made by all of the partners of the coalition, the HONOReform Foundation decided that it had worked itself out of a job. The Foundation dissolved at the end of 2018, and the Board of Directors worked with the CDC Foundation to establish the Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety in order to continue making an impact in this area.

The purpose of the Fund is to honor and recognize important work promoting safe injection practices and patient safety, and to produce educational materials that raise awareness and highlight the work of the One & Only Campaign. The Fund also supports The McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes, an annual award that honors and recognizes people who are doing important work on behalf of safe injection practices or patient safety.

By supporting the Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety, you can help us continue to promote patient safety, protect health and save lives. Your gift will be doubled up to a combined total of $50,000 through a generous matching gift. 

Amy Macklin
Amy Macklin is a senior advancement officer for the CDC Foundation.