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CALL FOR PAPERS – IOP Writing Contest

The UA School of Social Work invites submissions from UA and UAB students for the 2024

IOP Services Essay Writing Contest. Last year, IOP Services sponsored an essay contest on the

topic of “Barriers to Mental Health Care in Alabama.” According to the winning essay,

underserved rural populations confront a significant accessibility barrier, and a key to

overcoming this barrier is to expand and improve telemental health care. Building on last year’s

research, the topic for this year is Improving Telemental Health Care in Alabama (and Beyond).

The contest is open to ALL social work students (BSW, MSW, DSW, PhD) at UA and UAB.

A winning essay and 2nd and 3rd place essays will be selected from EACH institution. The authors

of each winning essay will receive a cash prize of $1,500. Winning authors will be invited to

present their essays at a colloquium scheduled on April 23rd, 2024, at 6:00 pm at The University of

Alabama School of Social Work (Little Hall). Each 2nd and 3rd place essay will receive prizes

of $500 and $250, respectively. They will be invited to present a poster presentation at the

colloquium reception on April 23rd. Awards will be given without regard to race, color, religion,

age, sex, national origin, disability status, or financial need.

If the winners of the essay contest are online students, they will be provided transportation costs

so that they may present their essays on campus.


Submissions must adhere to the following submission guidelines. Each

contestant may submit only one essay to the contest. Each essay must be double-spaced, 5-7

pages in length, include citations and reference lists according to APA professional standards and

include an abstract of no more than 100 words. A single cover sheet should specify the title,

author, and university. To permit blind reviewing, the author should not be cited or identified

within the essay.


The deadline for submissions is April 4th at 11:59 pm (CST). Papers should be submitted by

email to Sarah Epperson at If you have any questions, please call Sarah at



This essay contest is sponsored by IOP Services. Originally based in Birmingham and

now with locations in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, IOP Services was created to fill a critical gap

in mental health care in Alabama. Students may contact IOP Services to learn more about the

services provided and specific challenges faced by the agency.