2016 News

Brown School, CSD play large role in launch of Grand Challenges

An ambitious call to action on pressing social problems in America was issued January 14 at the Society for Social Work and Research annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work, led by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare, define a far-reaching agenda to promote individual and family well-being, a stronger social fabric and a just society, a society that creates a sense of belonging and offers pathways for social and economic progress.

“The Brown School and CSD should be very proud because we’re playing an active role, with several Brown School faculty involved in the Grand Challenges at the national level,” said Michael Sherraden, CSD founding director and George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sherraden has served on the Grand Challenges Executive Committee and is now co-director of the Steering Committee. He is the lead author of two of the papers that set the stage for the Grand Challenges initiative: Social Is Fundamental: Introduction and Context for Grand Challenges for Social Work and Grand Accomplishments in Social Work.

The conference included more than 50 presentations by leading researchers and experts that relate to the 12 Grand Challenges:

  • Ensure healthy development for all youth
  • Close the health gap
  • Stop family violence
  • Advance long and productive lives
  • Eradicate social isolation
  • End homelessness
  • Create social responses to a changing environment
  • Harness technology for social good
  • Promote smart decarceration
  • Reduce extreme economic inequality
  • Build financial capability for all
  • Achieve equal opportunity and justice

CSD faculty directors are authors or co-authors of five of the foundational articles for the 12 Grand Challenges — regarding productive aging, social dimensions of environmental change, smart decarceration of jails and prisons, reversing extreme economic inequality, and financial capability for the whole population. In addition, CSD editors have edited all of the Grand Challenges manuscripts to date. CSD authors include Julie Birkenmaier, Margaret Clancy, Matt Epperson, Jin Huang, Lisa Reyes Mason, Nancy Morrow-Howell, Carrie Pettus-Davis, Margaret S. Sherraden and Michael Sherraden.

CSD and Brown School will host a national Policy Conference on the Grand Challenges for Social Work, September 14-16, 2016, just weeks before the October 9 the presidential debate on the Washington University campus. ​