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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

GSSW Continues Grand Challenges Leadership

October 06, 2016

Grand Challenges Attendees

A conference held in mid-September at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis brought the national Grand Challenges initiative a step closer to its goals: creating transformative social change by ameliorating economic inequality, social exclusion, aging, youth development, criminal justice, addictions, health and other fundamental social issues. GSSW continues to play a leadership role in planning and implementing the initiative.

The Grand Challenges is a groundbreaking effort by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare to address 12 major social issues. The September conference, "Social Innovation for America's Renewal: Ideas, Evidence, Action," brought Grand Challenges leaders together to identify specific policy initiatives best suited to the aims of each challenge.

"It was inspiring to see national policy experts comment on the importance of the challenges we've identified and provide concrete suggestions for addressing these challenges through national policy initiatives," says conference attendee Professor Kim Bender, Associate Dean for Doctoral Education. "This conference advanced the Grand Challenges initiative to the next level of action."

Dean Emeritus James Herbert Williams serves on the Grand Challenges executive committee. Jeff Jenson, Philip D. & Eleanor G. Winn Professor for Children and Youth at Risk, chairs the steering committee for the Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health that is working to ensure healthy development for all youth, one of the 12 Grand Challenges addressed by the initiative. The coalition will host a webinar, "Ensuring Healthy Development for all Youth by Unleashing the Power of Prevention," on Thursday, October 13. 

GSSW participants pictured above at the Grand Challenges social innovation conference included (L-R) Professor Jeff Jenson, doctoral candidate Jessica Sparks, Professor Kim Bender, Assistant Professor Shannon Sliva and Dean Emeritus James Herbert Williams.