Social Innovation for America's Renewal: Ideas, Evidence, Action
Date: September 14-16, 2016
Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri


National experts, advocates, and leading academics gathered to address pressing social issues facing the country and the next administration. This conference outlined proposals for the presidential and other campaigns in 2016 and the second presidential debate, which the university hosted on October 9, 2016.

The conference focused on evidence-based policy ideas for the 12 Grand Challenges—from ending mass incarceration and family violence to achieving economic equality—identified by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare. Together, these challenges represent a bold and strategic agenda for social change. They focus on improving individual and family well-being, strengthening the social fabric, and helping to create a more just society. 



                                                                                              CONFERENCE AGENDA

                      Wednesday, September 14:  Gathering of the grand challenges network workgroups

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.    Dinner
                                          Speaker:  NASW President Darrell P. Wheeler

                       Thursday, September 15:  Specifying  policy recommendations for the grand challenges

8:00 to 8:30 a.m.  Breakfast

8:30 to 9:00 a.m. "Reflections from the front lines: Ideas and evidence to policy," Ray Boshara

9:00 to 12:00 p.m. Grand challenges network workgroup​ breakout sessions 

12:00 to 1:30 p.m.   Lunch, informal discussion

1:30 to 5:40 p.m.  Discussion of policy recommendations from the 12 grand challenge network workgroups (To view a PowerPoint, please click on a Grand Challenge.)                   

​​5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Conference dinner and speakers

                                       • Welcome; Social policy focus in social work: Brown School Dean Mary McKay  

                                       • Grand Challenges for Social Work initiative: AASWSW President Richard Barth                                                               PowerPoint 

                                       • Keynote address on the potential of the GCSW: NASW CEO Angelo McClain


                  Friday, September 16:  Ideas to action: Implementing  policy recommendations

7:30 to 8:00 a.m.  B​reakfast

8:00 to 8:45 a.m.  Address on policy innovation for children and families, Mark Greenberg,                                                                               Acting Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

8:45 to 9:30 a.m.   Policy progress and the grand challenges: Examples and discussion 

                                            • Ensure healthy development for all youth
     ​                                       • Eradicate social isolation
                                            • Promote smart decarceration

                                             Moderator: Eddie Uehara, University of Washington 

​9:30 to 10:45 a.m.  Policy strategies and direction for the grand challenges


                                            • Sarah Dewees, First Nations Development Institute
     ​                                       • Sarah Gehlert, Washington University in St. Louis PowerPoint
                                            • Isabel Sawhill, Brookings Institution PowerPoint
                                            • Patricia White, New York Community Trust

                                             Moderator: Marilyn Flynn, ​ University of Southern California 

10:45 to 11:30 a.m.  Integration and vision for the grand challenges policy recommendations


  ​                                        ​ Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Corporation for Enterprise Development
                                           • Rowena Fong, University of Texas PowerPoint
                                           • Laura Lein, University of Michigan 
                                           • Ron Manderscheid, National Association of County Behavioral Health​ and                                                                   ​      Developmental Disability Directors PowerPoint

                                             Moderator: Richard Barth, President, AASWSW 

11:30 to 12:15 p.m.  "Social innovation for America’s renewal ," Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow,                                                                               Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

12:15 to 12:30 p.m. Wrap-up and next steps

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.  Lunch, informal discussion, departures for airport

Postconference goals are to
     •    communicate GCSW policy recommendations widely, with a planned and systematic strategy;
     •    stimulate policy innovations at local, state, regional, and national levels;
     •    implement quality applied research on GCSW policy innovations; and
     •    embed positive social changes that reach millions of people in the United States.

Major institutional sponsors of the conference included the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare, Washington University in St. Louis, Brookings Institution, Society for Social Work and Research, Fund for Social Policy Education and Practice, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

University schools of social work sponsors included the following:
Washington University in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work; University of Southern California, School of Social Work; University of Washington, School of Social Work; University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration; University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work; University of Maryland, School of Social Work; University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work; University of Michigan, School of Social Work; Boston University, School of Social Work; University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice; Boston College, School of Social Work. 

Organized by the Center for Social Development.​​​​​​