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Network Leadership


Suzanne Brown, PhD

Associate Professor

Wayne State University

Robert Cosby, PhD

Assistant Dean

Howard University

Sandra Edmunds Crewe, PhD


Howard University

Michelle Munson, PhD


New York University

Erika Sabbath, ScD

Associate Professor

Boston College


During the past five years, members

of the network for Eradicate Social

Isolation and their colleagues have:

• Compiled a special issue of the Clinical Social

Work Journal on eradicating social isolation

in diverse populations and across the lifespan

• Organized a symposium at the Society

for Social Work & Research conference

on "Adversity, Marginalization, and Social

Isolation: Risks and Resilience"

• Participated in the Social Isolation Impact

Summit, hosted by the Motion Picture &

Television Fund and the Milken Institute's

Center for the Future of Aging

• Delivered the keynote address at the

University of the Western Cape in Cape Town,

South Africa on the importance of human


• Served on the ad hoc committee and

contributed to the Consensus Study Report

of the National Academies of Sciences,

Engineering, and Medicine on "Social Isolation

and Loneliness in Older Adults"

• Advocated for policy, practice, and

educational changes to ensure that social

isolation, particularly among older adults,

receives adequate attention

• Presented a CSWE Teaching Institute:

"Eradicate Social Isolation: Teaching and

learning strategies for generalist and

advanced curriculum"

In 2020 alone, responding to the COVID -19

pandemic, members of the network to

Eradicate Social Isolation have:

• Established a helpline at Wayne State

University to train volunteers to help

reduce stress and social isolation among

healthcare workers

• Launched a Virtual Health Ministry program

in Washington, DC, in which social work

student navigators link congregants at

area churches with services as well as a

Grandparent Reassurance Program

• Delivered webinars on "Isolation & Creativity

in the Time of COVID -19" and  "Social Work:

A Relational Profession in a Time of Social


• Published articles on the implications of

COVID -19 for older adults, African Americans,

and the brain itself

• Conducted a survey to understand the

impact of COVID -19 related social distancing

on mental health and well-being


Network members have articulated the following objectives for this Grand Challenge

over the next five years:

• Continue to advocate for their policy recommendations, using best practices gleaned from

innovative approaches in the UK and other countries around the world:

1. Increase access to social supports that strengthens social connections for children,

families, older adults and people with disabilities

2. Build more age-friendly communities that strengthen social connections

3. Reduce barriers to social inclusion for those marginalized by racism and other

forms of oppression

• Organize their research activities around a set of research questions focused on social support,

social integration, and social exclusion

• Engage network leads and national colleagues on strategies to embed strategic teaching tools

into the curriculum at the BSW, MSW, and PhD levels

• Increase the scope and cohesiveness of their network to better expand and coordinate their efforts

• Include community leaders from across the country in generating strategies to eradicate social

isolation and build social connection

An Impact Report at Year 5 of the 10-Year Initiative | 19


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