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Hand-in-hand with education and policy work,

involving social work practitioners in the Grand

Challenges is imperative to achieving "social

progress through science." During the first five

years of the GCSW, there have been a variety

of innovative and far reaching efforts geared

toward and involving the practice community.


• Skills webinars on policy and practice have been

offered regularly to help social workers become

more effective advocates. Topics have ranged from

Stay Home? Housing Inequities, COVID-19, and

Social Welfare Policy Responses to Making Change:

Messaging Your Issue for Policy Audiences.

• Several of the Grand Challenges have been

featured in podcasts conducted by social workers,

including Create Social Responses to a Changing

Environment and Smart Decarceration.

• A PhD candidate at the University of Utah College

of Social Work developed a state-of-the-art virtual

reality photography-based simulation tool to help

social workers assess in-home risks and protective

factors for child abuse.

• Harness Technology for Social Good led a

webinar series on several ways technology has

been incorporated into social work practice.

• Leaders of Grand Challenges networks have been

instrumental in implementing programs and

tools - such as SurvivorLink, MyPlan, SWVirtualPal,

and GenPRIDE Center - that help social work

practitioners and the people with whom they work.

• The Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health

has developed four training modules for students,

practitioners, and the public on prevention practice,

policy, and research.



The GCSW has also strengthened its organizational and leadership structure and sought to

create a sustainable funding strategy. It has

invested in bolstering communications across

the initiative and advancing a wide range

of academic and other opportunities to share

knowledge and ideas.

Growing momentum and increasing participation in the initiative over its first four years

led to a reorganization in October 2019. A

new, more traditional structure now includes

an interdisciplinary Leadership Board with

external partners and a five-member Executive

Committee. These changes have strengthened

leadership's ability to facilitate the work of the

13 Grand Challenges networks, address diversity issues, and better position the initiative to

secure external support and funding.

Other organizational highlights over the first

five years include:

• Developing a comprehensive statement to guide

all of the work of the Grand Challenges

Adopted in February 2019, this includes a Vision,

Mission, Domain, Guiding Principles, & Guideposts

to Action.

• Creating sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorships fund further development of research,

inter-university collaboration, and a wider public

understanding of the broad aims and tools of social

work. Funds also support infrastructure, including

administration, the 13 Grand Challenge networks,

webinars, website updates, coordination across

networks, communications, and vital connections

with other social work organizations and partners.

There have been six Premier Sponsors and 30

Sustaining Sponsors, as well as several contributing

and individual sponsors since 2017. (Contributing

sponsorships are $1,000, Sustaining sponsorships

are $2,500 per school/organization, and Premier

sponsorships are $7,500 per school/organization.)

8 | Progress and Plans for the Grand Challenges


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