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March 2019
Photo courtesy of the Survivor Link program at Arizona State University.

Get Involved!

In this edition of UP! we highlight some of the Grand Challenges activity going on since December. For all our news, follow our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, or watch our YouTube videos. 

Special note: We are in the process of ‘refreshing’ the GCSW website to better organize content and provide easier access to our resources and information. We’ll make an announcement about the new site as soon as it’s live!

Attention university communications directors!
In follow-up to the communications-focused webinar we held last fall, which highlighted the many ways we can work together to expand the reach of the Grand Challenges, we will convene a communications collaborative to continue that conversation. Look for an email with details soon—we hope you'll join us! Questions? Contact Chris Gherst at SCP (our communications partner).

If you’ve got news about a Grand Challenge project or activity, please share it with us for the newsletter and post to our Facebook groupUpcoming newsletter deadlines: June 15, September 15, December 15. Please also forward this newsletter to anyone interested in the Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW). 
News & Opportunities

Each issue we bring you news about advances and opportunities in a variety of Grand Challenge areas.
GCSW: Vision, Principles and Mission
We are pleased to share with you the “GCSW Vision, Mission, Domain, Guiding Principles, & Guideposts to Action.” This document, developed with input from the Grand Challenges community, is a guide for the Grand Challenges for Social Work as a national initiative, as well as for each of the 12 Grand Challenges. The commitment to ending racism and other injustices is fundamental throughout the Grand Challenges. We expect this to be a living document, with periodic revisions. Thank you to the committee for their efforts and to all of you who shared your ideas and comments. 

Committee on Values and Principles of the Grand Challenges for Social Work (alphabetical order): Rick Barth, Sarah Gehlert, Sean Joe, Charles E. Lewis Jr., Angelo McClain, Trina Shanks, Michael Sherraden, Edwina Uehara and Karina L. Walters (Chair)
Grand Challenge to Ensure Healthy Development of All Youth
The Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth Grand Challenge has recently approved a strategic plan for its work. Please visit the group's website to review the plan and see how you can become involved in efforts to meet the goal of reducing the incidence, prevalence, and inequities of behavioral health problems in young people by 20 percent in the next decade. 

The Ensure Healthy Youth Development Grand Challenge also announces the availability of three prevention educational modules that can be used to train students, professionals, and the public in key principles of prevention practice, policy, and research. These free modules can be used in stand-alone workshops or integrated in existing classes or curricula. Review or download the modules. Questions? Contact Jeff Jenson.
School Success Project Launched 
As part of the Grand Challenge to Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice, the authors of the paper “Increasing Success for African American Children and Youth” is launching the School Success Project in April 2019. The project has developed the Suspension/expulsion Tracking And Rating System (STARS) as a method to rate disproportionality—and progress toward reducing it—within a given geographic area. In drafting district, regional and state reports, members of the project make use of evidence-based methods in suggesting to school systems how to eliminate disproportionality in school suspension and expulsion. For more information contact:
New Post-Master’s Fellowship for Students

Florida State University’s Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD) has developed an exciting new Post-Master’s Fellowship at the intersection of criminal justice and social work. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, space permitting. Details and application. Questions? Contact Annie Grier
Social Isolation is Focus of Keynote Address in South Africa
In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Howard University's Cape Town International Service Learning Partnership and Social Work Month, Sandra E. Crewe, PhD, dean of Howard’s School of Social Work, presented a keynote address at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Crewe's talk focused on the international social work day theme—the importance of human relationships—and referenced the 12 Grand Challenges, specifically Eradicate Social Isolation. The audience included UWC university officials, faculty and students; Howard University trustees, faculty members and students; and Ray Mtetwa, the first and oldest Black social worker in Cape Town (pictured above with Dr. Crewe).
Prof2Prof at SXSW Edu ‘Shark Tank’
Kristen Slack, PhD, founder of Prof2Prof and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work, presented Prof2Prof at the SXSW EDU 2019 ‘Shark Tank’ earlier this month in Austin, TX. She was first “in the tank” and received very positive feedback from the panelists. You can listen to the presentation and questions from “the sharks” here. Prof2Prof is a partner of the GCSW and several of the Grand Challenge networks are using the site’s workspaces.
Elevate Social Work
National Professional Social Work Month in March 2019 is an opportunity for social workers and their supporters to educate the public about the invaluable contributions of the profession. This year, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) selected "Elevate Social Work" as the theme for the month.

Every day, the nation's 680,000 social workers work to empower and elevate millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society. NASW will also use the month to begin a conversation on how to boost the pay of social workers, which continues to lag behind that of other helping professions.

For NASW resources to help you promote "Elevate Social Work" visit the website.
Virtual Reality Simulation Aids Social Work Students
Josh Raines of the Social Science Research Center (SSRC), collaborating with the Department of Social Work at Ball State University, has developed desktop and mobile training simulations for social workers in virtual reality (VR). The simulations emphasize professional skill development, addressing issues related to drug/opioid abuse and bias/racial disproportionality. “By creating simulations in VR, students can practice skills in a variety of different situations that would otherwise be too risky to reproduce in natural reality,” says Dr. Glenn Stone, BSU Social Work Chair. As many social workers across the country continue to confront these issues, BSU is exploring how VR/sim technology can better prepare tomorrow’s social workers to manage them. Learn more and connect with the SSRC’s simulation program.
ASU Social Work Students Help Create Community Mural
The Survivor Link program, an AmeriCorps program in the Office of Gender-Based Violence at Arizona State University, leveraged community resources, volunteers, and students to paint an impressive 130-by-25 foot mural honoring the positive role of the Latinx family in the Phoenix area. On March 31st, César Chavez Day, community partner Chicanos Por La Causa is hosting a mural unveiling for the community. Social work students, Survivor Link program staff, and ASU faculty will gather alongside community members to celebrate the continued partnership. For more information contact Megan Lindsay Brown.
ACSSW Institute on Grand Challenges
The American Council for School Social Work (ACSSW) held its first National School Social Work Institute focused on the Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW), Jan 27–30, 2019 at Tulane University in New Orleans. The institute brought together 170 school social workers and university professors representing 20 different states and included more than 75 distinguished presenters at more than 65 workshops, many focused on Grand Challenges related issues such as financial capability, homelessness, immigration, and racial equity. University of Southern California School of Social Work professors Dr. Larry Palinkas, Dr. Marleen Wong, and Dr. Ron Avi Astor, and Loyola University School of Social Work professor Dr. Michael Kelly, provided an overview of the GCSW with an emphasis on how and why school social workers and their school colleagues are essential to the full implementation of the Grand Challenges. GCSW staff members also presented workshops to engage the school social work practice community in their role in implementing the GCSW.

To learn more about ACSSW, visit the website and sign up to receive the e-newsletter, Get Connected
GCSW Staff Transition
After six years of service to the Grand Challenges for Social Work and the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, Sarah Christa Butts, MSW, is leaving her role as executive director and joining the National Association of Social Work in the programs division as Director of Public Policy at NASW headquarters in Washington, D.C. As of March 25, 2019, she will be responsible for the Social Work Policy Institute (SWPI) and will play a leadership role in the association’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts as well as PACE (the association’s political action committee). Sarah has been a tremendous force in moving the GCSW forward, bringing collaborators and partners together, and expanding the reach of the initiative. She will be sorely missed but we look forward to working with her in her new role. You can reach Sarah at or 202-336-8251. 

To contact the GCSW, please email
GCEC Membership Update 
We are thrilled to welcome James Herbert Williams, PhD, a member of the Grand Challenges Executive Committee for six years, to the GCEC Steering Committee. Dr. Williams is Director and Arizona Centennial Professor at Arizona State University School of Social Work. He also is Interim Director of the school’s Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center.

In addition, please join us in welcoming several new members to the Grand Challenges Executive Committee:
  • Mary McKay, PhD, Niedorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Neil B. Guterman, MSW, PhD, Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor, New York University, Silver School of Social Work
  • Martell Teasley, PhD, Dean and Professor, University of Utah, College of Social Work, and president of the National Association of Deans and Directors (NADD)
  • Luis H. Zayas, PhD, Dean and Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy, University of Texas at Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and president of the St. Louis Group
  • Trina R. Shanks, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, School of Social Work
  • Audrey Shillington, MPE, MSW, PhD, Professor and Director, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Colorado State University, School of Social Work
We also want to recognize the members transitioning off the GCEC—John Brekke, PhD; Jim Lubben, DSW, MPH; Yolanda Padilla, PhD, and Karina Walters, PhD—for their dedication and commitment to the initiative. Thank you!

For the complete list of GCEC members visit the website.

We would also like to recognize changes in leadership in the Grand Challenges to Eradicate Social Isolation network. We thank Jim Lubben, DSW, MPH, and Elizabeth Tracy, PhD, for their leadership and welcome Suzanne Brown, PhD, and Michelle Munson, PhD, as network co-leads.
AASWSW Has a New Website!
The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare has launched a new website. Take a look and find out more about the Academy’s Fellows, focus areas, news, and more.

Policy Activity

Social Work Day on the Hill Recap
The Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) hosted its 5th Annual Social Work Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The day focused on historical and current efforts by the social work profession to improve societal conditions through social innovation and policy reform. Read about some of the latest efforts across the 12 Grand Challenges.

The first event, held at the National Press Club, featured a presentation and panel on the Grand Challenges federal policy recommendation to create a child development account (CDA) for every newborn in America. Following welcome remarks by Washington University’s Brown School Dean Mary McKay, Dr. Michael Sherraden, professor at Washington University and Grand Challenges for Social Work Executive Committee Co-Chair, presented his research and policy recommendations for CDAs based on findings from a statewide experiment in Oklahoma, SEED OK. Discussion followed with panelists Dr. Signe-Mary McKernan, vice president of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population and co-director of the Opportunity and Ownership initiative at the Urban Institute, Dr. William Elliott, professor at University of Michigan, and Colleen Quint, president & CEO of the Alfond Scholarship Foundation. Read more about the panel discussion and watch the video recording. 

The second part of the day featured voices from early career social workers answering questions on how social work can help save democracy, a question that arose from discussion by the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work (NADD) in response to Dr. Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. The day was capped with a reception honoring the contributions social workers have made and are continuing to make in the U.S. Congress and the federal government.

For more information contact CRISP President and GCEC member Charles E. Lewis, PhD.

2020 Presidential Election: Where Do the Candidates Stand on Ending Homelessness?
Benjamin Henwood, PhD, and Deborah Padgett, PhD, co-leaders of the Grand Challenge to End Homelessness network, have undertaken a project to gather, by invitation only, researchers' and other experts' visions and/or policy platforms that, if adopted, could realistically bring an end to homelessness in the United States over the next decade. They will compare the proposals with the positions of the candidates for the 2020 U.S. presidential election to determine which candidates are most likely to advance the Grand Challenge of Ending Homelessness. All of the essays they receive will be compiled in a single, edited document shared widely via social media. If you're interested in conducting a similar project for one of the other 11 Grand Challenges, please contact Benjamin Henwood or Deborah Padgett for more information.

If you have policy updates to share with Grand Challenges, please email Lissa Johnson, Director of Policy Initiatives.
Books & Publications
There are numerous calls for papers and special journal issues focused on the 12 Grand Challenges: 

Clinical Social Work Journal: Two Special Issues

Productive Aging

Deadline: April 1, 2019
Productive aging scholarship and practice gained new momentum in 2015 with the launch of the Grand Challenges for Social Work, along with the themes of retirement security, health, and caregiving for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The purpose of this Special Issue is to advance our understanding of the many clinical implications with regard to theories, practices, approaches, and techniques in the area of productive aging. It will also recognize the significant achievements of clinical scholarship and practice and will help to shape a vision for the next generation of scholars, educators, and practitioners to situate micro level factors within the broader ecological context. Details.

Social Isolation—A Grand Challenge Across the Life Course
Deadline: May 1, 2019
Social isolation is a potent killer, with strong epidemiological evidence supporting the association between isolation and poor health outcomes for individuals. Over the past 20 years, social isolation and loneliness among Americans has increased significantly, and evidence of the effect of social isolation on health and life quality continues to grow. Inadequate social networks are associated with greater susceptibility to illness, increased mortality, poorer health and well-being, psychological disturbance, and greater susceptibility to PTSD following disaster. Details.
Criminal Justice and Behavior
A special issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior, "Research to Advance Smart Decarceration Policies, Programs, and Interventions," will highlight important research contributions to the emerging field of smart decarceration. The issue will be guest edited by Matt Epperson, PhD; Amy Blank Wilson, PhD; and Gina Fedock, PhD. Submission deadline is May 31, 2019. Details.
Special Issue of Social Work: Mainstreaming Gender
Jill Theresa Messing, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Director of the Office of Gender Based Violence at the Arizona State University, is editing a special issue of Social Work on Mainstreaming Gender: An Intersectional Feminist Perspective on Social Work's Grand Challenges. Submissions that address gender across all of the Grand Challenges are of particular interest. Deadline: July 15, 2019. More information.

Teaching Social Work with Digital Technology
Melanie Sage, one of the network co-leads for the Grand Challenge to Harness Technology for Social Good, is co-author with Laurel Iverson Hitchcock and Nancy J. Smyth, of Teaching Social Work with Digital Technology. Published by the Council on Social Work Education, the book aims to help social work educators make decisions about integrating technology into their social work programs and across the curriculum. It covers a wide range of topics, including understanding digital literacy skills, ethical implications for technology in social work practice, and using technology in the traditional classroom as well as online teaching environments. 
People and Climate Change
Edited by Lisa Reyes Mason and Jonathan Rigg, People and Climate Change pays particular attention to the social dimensions of climate change. It closely examines peoples’ lived experience, climate-related injustice and inequity, why some groups are more vulnerable than others, and what can be done about it—especially through greater community inclusion in policy change. Pre-orders can be made now and will ship on April 2. For a 30% off discount, use code: ASFLYQ6
International View of CDAs
Child Development Accounts (CDAs) are the focus of a newly released special issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, co-edited by Michael Sherraden, PhD, George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and founding director of the Center for Social Development and the Next Age Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. The issue includes articles on CDA policies, programs, and research in Singapore, Israel, the United States, Taiwan, Uganda, Korea, and China, and builds on contributions to the 2017 International Symposium on Inclusion in Asset Building: Policy Innovation and Social Impacts.
Upcoming Events

CRISMA Conference on Race and Inequality 
March 28-29, 2019
St. Louis, MO

The Collaboration on Race, Inequality, and Social Mobility in America (CRISMA) at the Center for Social Development will host its inaugural conference March 28-29, 2019, in St. Louis. The conference will bring together talented scholars working toward the elimination of racial inequalities in social, economic, and health outcomes. View the agenda and register. This conference follows a related symposium earlier in the month at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, titled “Racial Equity and the Grand Challenges for Social Work.”


April 2, 2019
NYU Silver School of Social Work

#NYUSilverUp4TheChallenge is a student competition grounded in the principles of the Grand Challenges for Social Work that was launched at NYU Silver School of Social Work in August 2018. Fourteen concepts were submitted, reflecting the unique and powerful ways that social workers are positioned to address the Grand Challenges. Topics range from the development of non-profit and programming seeking to eradicate social isolation, to examining food insecurity and instability in a changing environment. Six finalists have been selected to present their concepts at a culminating event on April 2, 2019, after which a grand winner will be named a GCSW Scholar and will receive a monetary award. Learn more and register to attend.
Science in Action Series 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work

1010 W. Nevada Street, Room 2015
Urbana, IL

This year-long lecture series, addressing the Grand Challenge to Harness Technology for Social Good, is designed to present innovative applications of technology powered by science in order to expand new opportunities and collaborations for reaching more people with greater impact on society's most vexing social problems. Upcoming lectures are:

Project nGage: The Feasibility and Efficacy of a Dyadic Social Support Intervention to Retain HIV Positive Youth and Black Men in HIV Primary Care 
Alida Bouris, Associate Professor, University of Chicago, School of Social Administration 
April 4, 2019 
Development and Execution of Design-led Intervention for Social Good, Operation Compass
Lisa Mercer, Assistant Professor and Graduate Coordinator of Graphic Design
University of Illinois School of Art + Design
May 2, 2019
All lectures will be held from 12:00–1:00 PM local time.
*Registration is required to attend each date. These events are free and open to the public. Please share with anyone who may be interested. Lunch is provided. Attendance is capped at 30 people per seminar. Questions? E-mail Judy Havlicek.
Network for Social Work Management: 30th Anniversary Conference
Save the Date: May 29–June 1, 2019
Chicago, IL 
The Network for Social Work Management's 30th Anniversary Conference, “Accelerating Impact: Harnessing the Power of Human, Social, and Financial Innovation,” will be held in partnership with Loyola University Chicago. For conference details and registration information, visit the website.
2019 Western Consortium Meeting
The 2019 Western Consortium Meeting will be held in mid-June. Stay tuned for more information! For immediate questions, contact one of the co-chairs: Eddie Uehara, Marilyn Flynn, and Laura Nissen.
2019 Symposium on Solutions to End Youth Homelessness
June 17–19, 2019
New York University

Join more than 700 community activists, government officials, young people, executive directors, program managers, writers, case managers, and funders who are dedicated to ending the youth homelessness crisis at this exciting symposium co-sponsored by NYU. Deborah K. Padgett, PhD, Network Co-Lead for the End Homelessness Grand Challenge and NYU faculty liaison, will be presenting a pre-conference workshop on conducting research with and about homeless persons. Full details are yet to be announced, but you can find more information here.
GCSW YouTube Channel
Have you seen the GCSW YouTube channel featuring webinar recordings and more? Take a look! If you have videos related to Grand Challenges and would like them placed on the GCSW channel, please contact

GCSW Wikipedia Article
Help us build out the Grand Challenges for Social Work Wikipedia article! We are relying on volunteer editors to help make the article more robust and keep it up to date, so please take a look and contribute where appropriate.

We invite your university to sign on as a Grand Challenges for Social Work sustaining sponsor for 2019. Sustaining sponsorships are $2,500 per school. Please indicate your pledge by writing to Isabelle Garcia.

Thank you to our 2018 sponsors:
Arizona State University
Boston College
Boston University
Case Western Reserve University
Colorado State University
Columbia University
Fordham University
Indiana University
Michigan State University
New York University
The Ohio State University
University at Buffalo
University of Alabama
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
University of Denver
University of Georgia
University of Houston
University of Illinois
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Missouri
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
University of Washington
Washington University in St. Louis

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By contributing to the GCSW, you are helping fund the administration of the Grand Challenges for Social Work and our work to promote the initiative within social work, as well as to researchers, practitioners and professionals from related fields and disciplines nationwide.

Your support will help:
  • Build on social work’s rich history of creating and implementing large-scale social innovation.
  • Set a bold and broad social agenda to help solve today’s biggest problems.
  • Galvanize science to guide social progress.
Thank you for your generosity.
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GCSW Contacts
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