The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI), spearheaded by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), represents a major endeavor for the field of social work. GCSWI calls for bold innovation and collective action powered by proven and evolving scientific interventions to address critical social issues facing society.
The purpose of GCSWI was modeled after the National Academy of Engineering, which aimed to identify some of the most persistent engineering problems of the day and put the attention, energy, and funding of the entire field to work on them for a decade. The GCSWI does the same for social issues, tackling problems such as homelessness, social isolation, mass incarceration, family violence, and economic inequality.
Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society is a book that will present the foundations of the GCSWI, laying out the start of the initiative and providing summaries of each of 12 Grand Challenges. The 12 main chapters that form the core of the book, one on each of the challenges, are written by the primary research teams that are driving each Grand Challenge project.
The book is edited by University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW; Rowena Fong, EdD; and James Lubben, DSW/Phd, MPH, MSW. It provides a road map for the Grand Challenges, making a case for social work’s unique position to address each one and offering ideas for directions to take and ways to get involved.
Contributors with ties to SSW include: Sarah Christa Butts, MSW ’08, executive director of the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative; Christine Callahan, PhD, MSW, research assistant professor with the Financial Social Work Initiative (FSWI) at the SSW; and Robin McKinney, MSW ’01, director and co-founder of the Maryland CASH Campaign.