Grand Challenges for Social Work | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Grand Challenges for Social Work

The Brown School is a sustaining sponsor of the national Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW). The initiative identifies a course to address 12 Grand Challenges dominating the social context in the United States by using science and research to correct the most serious societal ills.

The Brown School’s commitment to the GCSW echoes the school’s dedication to racial equity and social justice. Our society faces large-scale problems, and the Grand Challenges define a social agenda to promote individual and family well-being, a stronger social fabric, and a just society. Learn more about the work we are doing to meet these challenges below.

Social Innovation for America’s Renewal Conference

In September 2016, more than 250 experts, advocates and leading academics gathered at the Brown School for a Grand Challenges policy conference to outline a comprehensive range of solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing the nation. Social Innovation for America’s Renewal and its workgroups have developed extensive evidence-based policy recommendations for the 12 Grand Challenges.

Brown Faculty Leadership

Brown School faculty and staff who provide leadership for the Grand Challenges networks or participated in co-authoring foundational GCSW concept papers, policy briefs, or policy action statements include:

Mary McKay Image

“Our School, faculty and staff have a deep level of commitment to the Grand Challenges for Social Work and the evidence-based progress this initiative is making towards a more equitable and just society for all.”

—Mary M. McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School


Michael Sherraden Image

“In each Grand Challenge network group, there are scholars who have been working in this subject area for most of their career. Our experience is when you have good evidence, it’s much easier to have a productive discussion about effective policy.”




—Michael Sherraden, Co-director of the GCSW Steering Committee; George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor

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