Something To Say? Enter the Heather Trickey Essay Prize!

While I’m very sad to announce the passing of the wonderful Heather Trickey this week, I’m delighted to announce that her legacy lives on in the creation of the Heather Trickey Essay prize. I worked with Heather on the WRISK Project, of which I’m very proud; it’s been doing some really important work in highlighting issues of risk communication in pregnancy. This £1000 prize, funded by BPAS and NCT will be awarded for an original piece, no longer than 3000 words. The essay may address any topic in the field of women’s reproductive health.

As the winner, you will receive not just money, but also a platform from which an issue that you care about might be taken forward in the real world.

Successful essays will:

  • Identify a specific area along women’s reproductive health cycle;
    • Describe the population affected,
    • Set out how it is that women are currently underserved with regard to health provision in this area, and
    • Explain why this area deserves focused attention to bring about change 
  • Be realistic in identifying barriers to change;
    • Barriers may include poor resourcing, historical ‘ways of doing things’, as well as different ways of framing the problem
  • Be solution-focused;
    • The essay will be realistically optimistic about the potential for change.
    • Key partners required to work together to achieve a common goal will be identified.

What the judges are looking for

The judges are keen to receive submissions that address conflicts between public health approaches and women’s needs and lived experiences. They hope to see suggestions for more effective systems of care that facilitate both maternal autonomy and public health objectives. They expect to see submissions that take a woman-centred approach and that recognise that even well-intentioned health professionals cannot stand in for women’s voices.

A woman-centred approach to women’s reproductive health does two things:

Firstly, it recognises the trade-offs between individual and population health. Secondly, it tackles head-on the fundamental social and emotional barriers – shame and shaming – that make it so hard to talk about women’s sexual and reproductive health.

The aim of this prize is to encourage the development of woman-centred research that is funded, disseminated, turned into policy and practice, and ultimately changes lives. 

This prize will do this by:

  • Helping to frame the approaches that researchers take to their work, and ensuring they have an audience
  • Engaging a wide network of supporters from the many organisations and groups with expertise in different aspects of women’s health and lived experiences. (We believe that positive change happens when diverse perspectives are brought to bear on a problem.)
  • Creating a source of innovative ideas for organisations with the resources to develop, test and scale ideas in the real world.

Any individual who lives and/or works in the UK may enter. Entries may be from individuals or a collaboration. If an entrant is associated with an organisation represented on the judging panel, the relevant judge will not take part in decisions about that entry.

Please email your finished essay to The deadline to submit work is 15 October, with the results announced in November. All those shortlisted will be invited to a presentation and meeting with the judging panel. Shortlisted entries will be publicised by BPAS and NCT. Promising ideas will be discussed by the WRISK Oversight Committee, with a view to considering merits of further development in collaboration with the applicant(s). 

Bunch of wildflowers illustration by Silva Brindle @silvasoup on Instagram
illustration by Silva Brindle @silvasoup on Instagram

Leave a reply here to get involved!