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Calling all photographers: Enter Rural Kansas Photo Contest sponsored by Rural Health Education and Services, The University of Kansas Medical Center
A Smiling Face. Photo by Hongyu Jiang. Entry in 2015 contest
Sunrise at Castle Rock. Photo by Mark Alexander. First-place winner in 2019 contest
Judy Scott, Lane County Hospital. Photo by Kasyn Hendrix. First-place winner in 2019 contest

KANSAS CITY — The beauty of Kansas and the people who make it special are showcased in a special photo contest sponsored by Rural Health Education and Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  

Now, for its 15th anniversary, the Rural Kansas Photography Contest is seeking entries in celebration of this milestone. For Jenifer Yuza, marketing and resource manager of Rural Health Education and Services, the contest is extra special this year because it’s one of the only events not canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We hope Kansans have turned to their passions during the past six months of uncertainty and have had the opportunity to capture some stunning images of Kansas,” Yuza said. “We can’t wait to see what entries come in this year.”


Deadline for submission 

Submissions are being accepted from now to Oct. 19, from individuals 18 years old or older who either live or work in Kansas. A unique category was added this year in celebration of the 15th anniversary. “Kansas in Black and White” was the most-requested category when past photographers of the contest were asked what they’d like to see included in the contest. 

The editorial team from the magazine “Kansas Country Living” will select a grand-prize winner from all entrants, and that photo will appear on the cover of its January 2021 issue. That photographer will receive $100. 


Vote for winners  

Rural Health Education and Services awards a first and second place cash prize in each category as well. The public votes on the winners. “For the past several years we have aligned the Contest Vote with National Rural Health Day which is celebrated the third Thursday in November, which will be Nov. 19 this year,” Yuza said. “In the past we have had receptions in both Kansas City in Murphy Lobby and in Wichita at KU School of Medicine. Finalists’ photos are displayed for the public to vote on during the receptions.” 

Those who can’t make it to the receptions and still want to vote can do so online, and if receptions are canceled due to the pandemic, Yuza said, all voting will be online.  

Winners also might see their work hung in the halls of one of KU Medical Center’s three campuses. “Dean (Garold) Minns at the School of Medicine in Wichita is a big fan of the contest,” Yuza said. “He has several contest prints in his office.” 


Contest categories 

Categories for the 2020 contest include: 

Hometown Kansas: Show the beauty, hustle and bustle, highlights, landmarks, or people that make up your favorite Kansas town, hometown or county.

Healthcare Heroes: Focus on a health-care hero in your community. Shoot either a portrait or a casual shot and provide a few sentences on why this healthcare hero has earned his/her cape. Individuals or a group of any health-care providers or first responders would fit this category.

Healthcare Facilities: Turn the spotlight on your community’s health-care facility. 

Wildlife and Critters: Highlight all the fuzzy, furry, creepy and crawly friends that call Kansas home in this beloved category. 

Kansas in Black and White: Submit remarkable Kansas-themed photographic work that shows the dynamic relationship between light, dark and all the tones in between. 

Fan favorite  

Yuza’s favorite photo from past contests didn’t win a major award, but it has garnered tons of smiles from the Rural Health Education and Services staff.   

“I have so many favorites but the image I keep going back to is “A Smiling Face” photographed by Hongyu Jiang. This photo was entered in the 2015 contest and wasn’t even selected as a finalist; however, we all love it! This photo just makes me smile and we use it frequently in our marketing materials,” Yuza said. “We get a lot of beautiful sunflower photos, but the added touch of the sunglasses just makes this one a standout.” 

Complete contest rules, prizes, and a link to the online entry form for submissions are available at More photo examples are available at