2021 award winners

The judges of the Heather Trickey Essay Prize are delighted to announce that they have chosen a winning essay: Natalie Davies’ Integrating alcohol harm reduction with family planning: a woman-centred alternative to the ‘abstinence-only’ approach for women trying to conceive.

We received more than 50 entries for this first year of the prize, and were hugely impressed by the breadth and passion of the essays we received.

The prize seeks to build on the work of Dr Trickey, who died in July 2021 and who was involved in designing the award. It encourages work that aims to find common ground and practical responses in sometimes difficult areas of women’s reproductive health and rights.

We chose Natalie’s essay, which explored the problems of public health advice around alcohol for women trying to conceive and proposed a potential solution for risk-reduction, as we felt it absolutely articulated these key themes. Women seeking to conceive are a group who are increasingly expected to behave as if pregnant, and yet the burden – particularly for those who may take longer than anticipated to become pregnant – is rarely recognised. We felt this was an area in need of further investigation, particularly as the idea of pre-conception care becomes more embedded, and will seek to support Natalie to take her ideas forward.

Alongside Natalie’s essay, we are also publishing six highly commended submissions which spoke to the criteria of a contested or underexplored area, sought to surface and explain women’s voices and experiences, and suggested fresh approaches. Areas covered included contraception, miscarriage, endometriosis and infant feeding – we know Heather would have been thrilled at the spread of reproductive issues represented, and the authors’ demonstrable commitment to improving experiences and outcomes for women.

We are hugely grateful to everyone who took part and look forward to opening the award again next year year.

Clare Murphy, Julia Sanders, Simon Brindle and Jessica Figueras

The winner of the inaugural Heather Trickey Essay Prize

Natalie Davies, Integrating alcohol harm reduction with family planning: a woman-centred alternative to the ‘abstinence-only’ approach for women trying to conceive

Highly commended

Laura Ruane, Claudia and Me: an endo story

Jessica Cohen-Murray, Why the UK needs a new National Milk

Dr Andrea Ford, Endometriosis, period health, and valuing women’s experience

Bakita Kasadha, Dr Shema Tariq, Dr Farai Nyatsanza, Dr Nell Freeman-Romilly, Angelina Namiba and Tanvi Rai PhD, Who knows ‘best’ when it comes to breast?

Richard Ma, Why current sexual and reproductive health research, policy and practice are failing women – and what we can do about it

Aimee Middlemiss and Susie Kilshaw, Sharing the burden of miscarriage knowledge