The CDC Foundation Recognizes All Frontline Nursing Home Staff In the U.S. With The 2021 McKnight Prize For Healthcare Outbreak Heroes

CDC Foundation is proud to announce that the 2021 McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes is being awarded to all frontline nursing home staff in the United States. Together, the Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety and the CDC Foundation created the McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes to encourage and reward those who serve and protect patients from harm related to healthcare outbreaks. Together with presenting partner American Health Care Association, (AHCA), a formal award ceremony will take place at the AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo in October.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes were one of the hardest hit sectors across all of healthcare. Nursing home staff went above and beyond, performing admirably to care and protect their residents in the face of great personal risk. Some of the nursing home staff inclusive of this recognition are nurse assistants, environmental service workers, dietitians, nurses, administrators, activity directors, therapists, and other support staff. According to the federal government, over 550,000 nursing home staff contracted COVID-19 and over 1,000 lost their lives.

“The McKnight Prize for Healthcare Heroes is intended for an individual, but the COVID-19 response has shown us that we are all in this together. The heroism of all the nursing home staff that showed up and kept showing up day after day truly captures the spirit of the award,” said Thomas and Evelyn McKnight. “These individuals are vital to creating a safe and dignified environment for nursing homes residents. What they all have in common is a commitment to provide skilled and compassionate care for our nation’s most vulnerable elders and others. We could not think of a more deserving group of heroes to receive this award.”

By awarding the McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes to the entire nation’s nursing home workforce, the McKnight Prize Committee wishes to express utmost gratitude and appreciation and render rightful recognition for the heroism and bravery exercised during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is nursing home staff that has daily interactions like reading a letter from a loved one, assisting at mealtimes, ensuring the correct medication is taken, listening to stories, brushing hair, and the many other seemingly simple gestures that too often go unnoticed but are meaningful and significantly enrich the quality of life for their residents.

To learn more about the Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety and the McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes award, visit: Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety | CDC Foundation.


Headshot for Susanne Salehi
Susanne Salehi is an advancement associate for the CDC Foundation.