How might we recreate public health as art, letters, stories, and poetry?

In your response, think of how you can share a personal experience or translate data and research through creative expressions—an artwork, a letter, a story, or a poem—to increase understanding of health information and inspire the public to form a better connection with themselves and their health.

At this time, submissions will only be accepted if written in English. Submissions should not have been previously published and should be properly formatted with little to no grammatical errors. Submissions will be accepted via Submittable. Please do not include any identifying information in your uploaded file.


Letters should be between 250 to 500 words. Letter submissions should be typed in 12-point font, Arial or Calibri, and single-spaced. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, and .wpf.


Poems should be between 250 to 500 words. Poetry submissions should be typed in 12-point font, Arial or Calibri, and single-spaced. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, and .wpf.


Stories should be between 1000 to 2000 words. Story submissions should be typed in 12-point font, Arial or Calibri, and single-spaced. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, and .wpf.


Artwork should be visual art and include a short narrative to briefly describe or introduce the illustration, painting, etc. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .png, .svg, and .tif.

"Surprise Us"

While we ask for artwork, letters, poems, and stories, we know that people are very talented and have other ways of expressing themselves. If your submission does not fit into one of the other four categories, please submit it here. We will be happy to view whatever you surprise us with! Acceptable file types include those of text, images, audio, video, and others. Please email us at if your file is not accepted.

We include a form on Submittable that is entitled “Under 18 Submissions” where all individuals under the age of 18 can submit their creative work in any of our five categories (art, letters, poetry, stories, “surprise us”).


If you have questions about how or if your piece fits into our guidelines and answers the contest question, please view our “frequently asked questions” section below or contact us via email at Please remember that public health encompasses a wide range of issues and topics such as mental health, alcohol and drug use/abuse, climate change, sexual health, COVID-19, disaster preparedness, and more.

Terms of Use & Confidentiality

Before submitting to LIGHT, you will be asked to acknowledge and agree to the following:

. I assure that the work I am submitting to LIGHT is original work, owned by myself, OR I have partial ownership of the work and am submitting the work with consent from the person or people who also have ownership of the work. I, or we (if submitting with others), take full responsibility of its veracity falling to myself or my team as authors.
. I attest that the work I am submitting has not been previously published elsewhere (an exception is if it has been published on a personal website, blog, Spotify, etc.).
. I give LIGHT the right to edit, duplicate, and publish my creative work in their open-access literary journal and disseminate this work for promotional reasons via any type of media to a broader audience.
. I understand LIGHT reserves the right to refuse to publish any work that may be deemed harmful, slanderous, or malicious, etc., regardless of how well written it is.
. I acknowledge that I will not receive any compensation for LIGHT's use of my creative work, except that of a monetary prize if my creative work places as a top submission (see LIGHT’s open call prizes for more details).
. I understand that I cannot make a claim as a violation against usage rights against LIGHT related to the use of my creative work. If submitting concurrently, I will withdraw my submission if it is accepted elsewhere.
. I understand that I own all rights to my submission post-publication, and I will credit LIGHT as the original publisher if I choose to publish my creative work elsewhere.
. If my submission is selected to be included in the LIGHT journal, I recognize my name will be published with it.
. If submitting as part of a group, I agree that all group members consent to these terms.

Confidentiality Kindly note the privacy of individuals should be protected. Public health practitioners who write about individuals and communities should alter identifying details and characteristics.


The deadline for all submissions in each category is Sunday, May 1, 2022, by 11:59pm CST. All submissions should follow LIGHT guidelines.

Potential Timeline

Contest launch: February 1, 2022


Contest deadline: May 1, 2022


Review, judging, and editing: May and June 2022


Finalist notifications: June 30, 2022


Journal production begins: July 2022


Expected journal release: Early 2023

In a world where the public is absent in conversations about the public’s health, a group of individuals began a mission to give voice to the most fundamental aspect of public health—the people. learn more
Stay Informed
LIGHT is a community of leaders, public health researchers, artists, poets, storytellers, and readers, and we welcome you to join us. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive news of our submissions and latest journal issues.

Saint Louis University, College for Public Health and Social Justice
Texas A&M University, College of Liberal Arts & School of Public Health