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Michael Spencer, PhD

Presidential Term Professor

University of Washington

Karina Walters, PhD


University of Washington


Population Health through

Community and Settings-Based

Research and Practice

Strengthening Health Care Systems:

Better Health Across America

Reducing and Preventing Alcohol

Misuse and Its Consequences


During the past five years, members of the Close the Health Gap Grand Challenge

network and their colleagues have engaged in a variety of activities . They have:

• Promoted Indigenous and culturally

grounded, place-based research in health

and well-being through publications

and presentations

• Expanded the network of Indigenous health

researchers through innovative academic

preparatory programs

• Delivered numerous presentations at the

Society for Social Work & Research and other

conferences, as well as a webinar for the

National Association of Social Workers

• Participated in a consensus study on

"Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of

Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the

Nation's Health" by the National Academies

of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

• Published three concept papers on

combatting alcohol misuse, promoting health

equity, and strengthening health care systems

• Contributed to special issues of the Journal

of Social Work Practice in the Addictions,

the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity

in Social Work, and Human Biology as well

as an issue of the International Journal of

Alcohol and Drug Research

• Wrote an editorial on "The Case for a

National Health Social Work Practice-Based

Research Network in Addressing Health

Equity" in Health & Social Work

• Testified before the House Committee

on Education and the Workforce about

expanding access to substance abuse

disorder treatment

• Briefed federal legislators on "When a Good

Life Depends on Federal Policy,"  "Addressing

the Crisis in Older Adult Mental Health," and

"Is Treating Depression the Answer to Solving

the Opioid Crisis?"

• Advocated for the inclusion of social workers

in responding to the opioid crisis


During the next five years, members of the Grand Challenge to Close the Health Gap

network and their colleagues plan to:

• Collaborate with other Grand Challenges, particularly Create Social Responses to a Changing

Environment, Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality, and Eliminate Racism, to address issues

that impact health and health equity

• Continue to advocate for their policy recommendations:

1. Focus on settings-based research and interventions to improve the conditions of daily life

2. Advance community empowerment and advocacy for sustainable health solutions

and prevention

3. Cultivate health innovation in primary care and community-based centers

4. Promote access to health care and insurance for all

5. Foster development of an interprofessional health workforce

6. Develop a global health policy agenda on reducing alcohol misuse

• Continue to challenge structural racism, settler colonialism, white supremacy, and racial

capitalism and their adverse impact on our biosocial complex

• Identify leadership for the working group on Strengthening Health Care Systems and grow

the working group on Population Health more strategically

An Impact Report at Year 5 of the 10-Year Initiative | 13


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