National Academy of Medicine

Are you between the ages of 5 and 26? We want to hear from you!

What does the world look like when everyone has the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy? 


The social determinants of health—things like jobs, transportation, neighborhoods, and housing affect our lives and the lives of our families, friends, and communities. Just imagine—if you don’t have a good job, how can you buy healthy food? If you don’t have a way to get to work, how can you get a good job? If your neighborhood doesn’t have a safe place to play, how can you get enough exercise? If you don’t have somewhere safe to live, how can you avoid feeling tired and stressed out? We want to prevent factors like these from holding people back. 

We want to build a world where everyone has the same chance at living a healthy life.

Can you help us imagine what this world would look like?

How do the social determinants of health shape your life and the lives of your family and community? How would you make sure your friends, family, and community all have the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy? 

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC, is calling on young leaders, ages 5-26, to use art to explore how the social determinants of health play a role in shaping their lives and their communities, and what it might look and feel like to one day live in a world where everyone has the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy.


Young Leaders Visualize Health Equity aims to use art as a vehicle for collecting valuable insights from young people around the world about how the social determinants of health shape their lives and the lives of those closest to them. We hope the art, and the process of creating the art, will spark a dialogue about how our lives and our health are shaped by everything around us, and provide insight into how these factors support or hinder everyone’s chance of living the healthiest life possible.

We envision this project as one way for young people to share their own visions of what the world might look like when everyone has the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy. We hope that the stories they capture through their art will allow viewers to more fully understand how the social determinants of health impact everyone, including young people and their loved ones, and why it is critical to understand and improve these factors so that future generations can thrive.



Create a piece of art to show us one or more of the following:

  1. What the world might look like when everyone has the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy.
  2. How you would make sure you and your friends, family, and community all have the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy.
  3. How the social determinants of health shape your life and the lives of your family, friends, and community.

This opportunity is open to artists of all skills and abilities. Visual and non-visual art, such as creative writing and music, are welcome.

The NAM will accept submissions from those ages 5-26. Group submissions are welcome. Please review Participation Guidelines below for more information. An artist statement is required for each submission. The artist statement should tell viewers how your art relates to the social determinants of health and health equity, and what you hope people will learn or understand after viewing/listening to your creation.  

Parents/guardians/teachers may assist in writing the artist statement for young children. These statements should still capture the essence of what each child feels about their own art.

A panel will review each submission and select pieces for a permanent digital gallery and for an in-person pop-up gallery. Additional information can be found under Selection Process below. 

Submission deadline: February 28, 2019 at 11:59pm PT


  • Submissions are open to individuals ages 5-26. Submissions from individuals older than 26 and younger than 5 will not be considered. 

  • International submissions are welcomed and encouraged. 

  • Non-English-language submissions are welcomed and encouraged.

  • Visual and nonvisual art, such as music and creative writing, are welcome. Accepted mediums include drawings, paintings, photographs, mixed media, murals, collage, sculpture, film, poetry, digital art, spoken word, performance art, and more.

  • Please provide clear photographs of all visual art (300 dpi high resolution), from multiple angles and showing close-up detail as appropriate. Creative writing should be submitted in PDF format and performance art or music should be submitted in video format. Video submissions should be submitted via a YouTube or Vimeo link. Please do not send us the original file. If you do not have a YouTube or Vimeo account, please email Kyra Cappelucci at KCappelucci@nas.edu. 

  • You may submit previously-existing art as long as you are the original artist or have formal permission from the artist to submit their work for this project.

  • All entries must be accompanied by a completed submission form which includes a brief written explanation (artist statement) of how your art relates to the social determinants of health, health equity, healthy communities, or what the world may look like when everyone has the same chance to be happy, healthy, and safe. The artist statement should also describe what you hope people will learn or understand after viewing your art. 

  • Your written artist statement should be no more than 300 words and should be written in complete sentences.

  • Parents/guardians/teachers may assist in writing the artist statement for young children. Statements should still capture the essence of what each child feels about their own art.

  • By submitting your art for this project, you are granting non-exclusive lifetime permission for the NAM to display, publish, and share your art in digital and print formats. This includes your written explanation (artist statement). Full credit will always be given to the artist, and copyright will remain with the artist. Art submitted for this project will not be reproduced for purchase or profit.

  • Individuals and groups may participate. Limit three submissions per person/group.

  • Artists under the age of 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian to participate.


  • The NAM reserves the right not to display, publish, or share submissions that are not responsive to the prompt or contain inappropriate language or themes.

  • We cannot accept art that includes logos/branding of companies or organizations. Please exclude all logos from your submission before submitting.


A panel of reviewers drawn from participants in the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health program will evaluate entries for creativity and responsiveness to the prompt.

Selected submissions, including the artist’s name and artist statement, will be displayed in a digital gallery on the NAM website (NAM.edu).  The NAM will display the name, photo, hometown, and school/work affiliation (if desired) of selected artists. The NAM will also provide sample text to selected artists that can be included on resumes describing artists’ participation in this project. Additionally, approximately 30 selected entries will be chosen for display at a live gallery show in Summer 2019. 

If your submission is chosen for the digital gallery or live gallery show, we will notify you by April 30, 2019.


About the Culture of Health Program

The Culture of Health Program at the National Academy of Medicine is a multiyear collaborative effort to identify strategies to create and sustain conditions that support equitable good health for everyone living in America. This includes a critical examination of the social determinants of health and the role they play in achieving health equity. The Culture of Health program includes consensus studies, public workshops, community events, and the development of tools and resources to help support the work of policy makers, community leaders, researchers, and more. The Culture of Health program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Learn more about the Culture of Health program