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September/October 2019

Get Involved!

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

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:  December 15 and March 15. Please also forward this to anyone interested in the Grand Challenges for Social Work. 
News & Opportunities
GCSW Leadership: Restructuring for Greater Impact
As a result of growing momentum and widening participation in the Grand Challenges, and in order to move to the next level of success, the GCSW leadership structure has been reorganized. By adopting a more traditional structure—with an Executive Committee and a Leadership Board—the GCSW will be in a better position to address issues such as diversity, sustainability, and goal attainment. We believe these changes will also help us strengthen our work with the 12 Grand Challenges networks and to be more successful in securing external support and funding. This is a natural stage of growth and we’re thrilled that the Grand Challenges for Social Work has reached this point! Details.
Join us in Welcoming Our New Director
We are thrilled to welcome Kira Silk, LMSW, as director of the Grand Challenges for Social Work! Prior to joining us, Kira was the Assistant Director for Program Services at the Maryland CASA Association. After earning her MSW, Kira was awarded a Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellowship to assess resource parent satisfaction and develop and implement a program to improve resource parent retention in Philadelphia. She then joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Child Welfare Strategy Group, where she supported child welfare reform in state and county jurisdictions around the country. Kira’s interest in child welfare services developed through her work after college with adolescent girls in a residential treatment center in Baltimore and later, during her MSW program, as a case manager for children and families involved with the child welfare system in Philadelphia. Kira is also committed to reaching beyond conventional service designs and boundaries, having worked in Africa and South America on a variety of child welfare projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Goucher College and an MSW with a Graduate Certificate in Global Human Rights from the University of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at

Refreshed Grand Challenges Website is Live!

We are pleased to announce that the ‘refreshed’ Grand Challenges for Social Work website is now live! With clearer navigation, better search functionality, and more space to highlight the activities and accomplishments of each of the 12 Grand Challenges, the site offers a more robust platform to inform and inspire. Take a look and send us news, events, publications related to the Grand Challenges!
SUSTAINING SPONSOR University of Chicago Announces Transforming Justice Program of Study
The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration is pleased to announce the Transforming Justice Policies and Practices Program of Study. The program immerses master’s degree students in classes and field placements that offer a rich exploration of the policies, practices, histories and philosophies of the United States criminal justice system, with an emphasis on promoting socially just change within and outside the system. A previous study showed that only five percent of MSW programs had a concentration focusing on criminal justice-related issues. Promote Smart Decarceration Grand Challenge network co-lead and Director of the Program, Matt Epperson, PhD, says, “This program fulfills a critical need in higher education for social workers who have an increasing interest and responsibility to re-envision how justice is defined and achieved.”
PREMIER SPONSOR New research from the Social Development Research Group at UW
New research from Grand Challenge to Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth co-lead J. David Hawkins, PhD, and the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington School of Social Work, including Richard Catalano, PhD, shows that prevention has a positive impact on children’s attachments. “We call it social bonding,” says Dr. Hawkins, co-author of the study that evaluated elementary-school interventions that helped children form healthy attachments to family and school. Read more

Also closely aligned with the Grand Challenge to Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth, is a consensus study report released in September by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), "Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth." Dr. Catalano, co-founder of the Social Development Research Group, and steering committee member for Unleashing the Power of Prevention, contributed to the report.
Study from National Academies Recognizes Role of Social Workers in Improving Health
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, "Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation’s Health," acknowledges that non-medical social needs—social determinants of health—are critical components to a healthy population. The report includes several goals and associated recommendations that health care systems, government agencies, and others should implement to better integrate patients’ social needs into health care delivery, including better support and training for social care professionals in a variety of settings. The study was sponsored a variety of foundations and organizations, including Grand Challenge partners the Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Social Workers, as well as more than 60 academic social work programs. 
Grand Challenge Leaders Among 100 Most Influential SW Faculty 
Several leaders in the GCSW were named among the top 100 most influential social work faculty in the U.S., as measured by ‘H-Index’—the number of publications they’ve produced and subsequent citations of their work. Full list.
Colorado State University Promotes Grand Challenges
In recognition of the importance of partnerships to advance the Grand Challenges for Social Work, Colorado State University’s School of Social Work took a fresh approach to building awareness of the Grand Challenges for the 2019-20 academic year. The school used visual communications to associate faculty members and their research with the GCSW, with the goal of building momentum on a grassroots level among students, and helping students to see how faculty research work—and perhaps even visualize how their own work—has an impact.
Colorado State University also hosted the Western Consortium for the Grand Challenges for Social Work in September. Educators, researchers, and practitioners gathered on campus for the event, “Town-Gown Collaborations for the Implementation of the Grand Challenges,” featuring the development of partnerships between communities and universities and highlighted models for success in achieving shared goals.
Rocío Calvo Receives CSWE Award
Congratulations to Grand Challenge to Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice network co-lead Rocío Calvo, PhD, recipient of the 2019 CSWE Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award. The award recognizes Dr. Calvo’s work in social services and immigration, and the founding of the Latinix Leadership Initiative.
Helping Older Adults with the Next Chapter of Their Working Lives
Jacquelyn James, PhD, co-director of the Boston College Center on Aging & Work and co-lead of the Grand Challenge to Advance Long and Productive Lives, gave a presentation, What's Up? What's Happening with the Aging Workforce? at Age Strong @ Work, an employment workshop series for people 50+. The event, sponsored by Mayor Martin Walsh and the City of Boston, was featured in the Sunday, September 15th edition of the Boston Globe

PREMIER SPONSOR GC Network Co-Lead Testifies around Efforts to Advance Long and Productive Lives 
NYU Silver School of Social Work Assistant Professor Ernest Gonzales, PhD, recently presented testimony to a committee appointed by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education to develop a behavioral and social sciences research agenda for the next decade on Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias (ADRD). Dr. Gonzales, co-lead of the Grand Challenge to Advance Long and Productive Lives, focused his remarks on the economic and health burdens often experienced by informal caregivers of those with ADRD, and proposed three research questions to address them. Read the testimony, which he co-authored with NYU Silver PhD student Cliff Whetung, and MSW students Rachel Krutchen and Andrew Schlesinger. Gonzales was also invited to present his research to help shape a research agenda on work, aging, and health at the National Academies of Sciences funded by the National Institute on Aging. [link to PDF]
Infusing Grand Challenges into Curriculum 
Inspired by the Grand Challenges, Valerie Bryan, PhD, Associate Professor, University of South Alabama, transformed her BSW macro practice class, using problem-based learning to investigate a number of the Grand Challenges. She has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on this approach and intends to continue teaching the class this way. “We discovered that investigating three of the Grand Challenges was just the perfect number for a semester-long class, interspersed with lecture on community assessment and intervention strategies,” she notes. For more information or and materials, contact Dr. Bryan.
PREMIER SPONSOR Keeping LGBTQ Older Adults Connected to their Communities
An exciting and critically important project that fits with the Grand Challenge to Eradicate Social Isolation, is led by Professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen, PhD, at the University of Washington School of Social Work. On founding the GenPride Center for LGBTQ older adults, “It’s really important for people to age in community, because they need to stay connected. They need to have a community that supports them and ensures they are connected to three or more people,” Fredriksen Goldsen said. “Much of what we’re learning here supports the well-being of all elders and is responsive to our increasingly diverse society.” Read more about Fredriksen Goldsen's research and the GenPride Center.
ICYMI: Webinar on the GC to Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality
"Current Strategies to Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality," a webinar from the GCSW, focused on work, income, and inclusive wealth-building strategies to reduce economic inequality through macro social work practice. The session included first-had experiences from the field, in addition to comments from the GC network co-leads. Access the recording

Policy Activity

Child Development Accounts 
Universal and progressive Child Development Accounts (CDA) is one of the policy recommendations in two Grand Challenges: Build Financial Capability for All and Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality.

This summer, California and Illinois joined Nebraska and several other states who have implemented CDAs. Michael Sherraden, PhD, Grand Challenges Executive Committee member and director of the Center for Social Development at the Brown School at Washington University at St. Louis—who in 1991 first proposed universal asset building beginning at birth—said research testing CDA policy, and documented success in statewide CDAs have been key steps in moving toward a national policy. “Since 529 college savings plans already exist and are very stable, these can become the backbone of a national CDA policy that reaches all U.S. children,” he said. “A nationwide CDA policy could eventually develop into a lifelong asset-building policy for the nation. This policy vision would emphasize asset accumulation and achieving life goals.”

If you have policy updates to share with Grand Challenges, please email Lissa Johnson, Director of Policy Initiatives.
Books & Publications
GC to End Homelessness [image: book cover]
Benjamin Henwood, PhD, and Deborah Padgett, PhD, network co-leads for the Grand Challenge to End Homelessness, have written a chapter in the newly published book, Homelessness Prevention and Intervention in Social Work: Policies, Programs, and Practices. The chapter, “Homelessness in Los Angeles and New York City: A Tale of Two Cities” explores the U.S. response to homelessness over the years. Drs. Henwood and Padgett describe how New York City and Los Angeles have approached homelessness in vastly different ways and examine how addressing local variation is critical to future efforts to end homelessness. 
GC to Advance Long and Productive Lives
There are several new articles authored by co-leads of the Grand Challenge to Advance Long and Productive Lives:

Gonzales, E., Lee, K., & Harootyan, B. (2019). Voices from the Field: Ecological Factors that Promote Employment and Health among Low-Income Older Adults with Implications for Direct Social Work Practice. Clinical Social Work Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10615-019-00719-x.

Wang, Y. & Gonzales, E. (2019). Examining the Prevalence of Risk and Protective Factors to Family Caregiving in China: Findings from CHARLS. China Journal of Social Work, DOI: 10.1080/17525098.2019.1591697

Gonzales, E., Perry, T. E., Shen, H. W., & Wang, Y. (2019). Intersections of Home, Health and Social Engagement in Old Age: Formal Volunteering as a Protective Factor to Health after Relocation. Research on Aging. DOI: 10.1177/0164027518773125.

James, J. B., Morrow-Howell, N., Gonzales, E., Costa, C., & Riddle-Wilder, A.
(in press). Beyond the livelong work day: Is there a new face of retirement? In S. Czaja, J. Sharit, J. James, & J. Grosch, (Eds), Current and Emerging Trends in Aging and Work. (Chapter 18). New York, NY: Springer.
Upcoming Events

Council on Social Work Education
October 24-27, 2019
Denver, CO

Be sure to visit the GCSW and Prof2Prof booth! (#622)

CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting (APM) is the place where social work education influencers collaborate, learn, teach, and grow. This year’s theme is Social Work Education: Looking Back, Looking Forward. More information.

If you work on communications activities at your school, please join us for the GCSW Communications Collaborative meeting at CSWE!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Sheraton Hotel, Tower Building, Gold Room (Mezzanine Level)
Join us to:
~ meet the new GCSW Director, Kira Silk,
~ share ideas for promoting Grand Challenges related work, and
~ discuss opportunities for collaboration. 

Domestic Violence Through the Social Work Lens 
NASW is hosting a virtual forum, “Domestic Violence Through the Social Work Lens.”  Join live, October 16 & 17, 12:00pm - 5:00pm (EST) to access cutting-edge education presented by leaders in the field on topics covering clinical practice, children & families, policy, ethics, LGBTQ and more, as they relate to domestic violence.

This two-day program will be live-streamed from the NASW National Office and you will be able to view it from your home, your office, or mobile device. 
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.
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! Wikipedia rules prevent GCSW staff from making further additions to the page, so your assistance is critical. Please take a look and contribute where appropriate. Thank you! Questions? Email us.

Grand Challenges Websites
Stay up to date with these additional Grand Challenges related websites:

We invite your university to help support
the Grand Challenges for Social Work with a financial contribution.

In addition to Sustaining Sponsor ($2,500), this year we’ve introduced a Premier Sponsor level for larger contributions. Your sponsorship will help support core staffing, communications activities, collaborations within the social work community and with interdisciplinary partners, coordination among networks, and much more.

To pledge your support, contact Isabelle Garcia.

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors!

Premier Sponsors

Arizona State University 
New York University 
University of Maryland 
University of Washington
Washington University in St. Louis 

Sustaining Sponsors
Boston University 
Case Western University
Fordham University 
University of Alabama 
University at Buffalo 
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago 
University of Georgia  
University of Illinois 
University of Kentucky 
University of Louisville
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
University of Pennsylvania 
University of Pittsburgh 
University of Southern California
Individual contributions to the GCSW are also welcomed!
Help create a more just society.
Donate to the Grand Challenges for Social Work.

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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