Grand Challenges for Social Work

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Grand Challenges for Social Work

For more than a century, social workers have been transforming our society. Today our society faces serious, interrelated, and large-scale challenges—violence, substance abuse, environmental degradation, injustice, isolation, and inequality. We need social workers’ unique blend of scientific knowledge and caring practice more than ever. The Grand Challenges for Social Work, initiated by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW) in 2016, and sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and other schools, is a call to action for social work educators, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to work together—and across disciplines—to tackle some of our toughest social problems.

Check out their video to learn about the Grand Challenges initiative and how you can get involved as a student in your program. To learn more about the individual Grand Challenges, watch their webinars  or reach out to the network co-leads. Connect with faculty who are working in an area that relates to one of the Grand Challenges.

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The Grand Challenges at Pitt School of Social Work

Individual and family well-being

Ensure healthy development for all youth
  • Stronger Collaboration with Intensive Family Coaching: A Pilot Study, Marlo Perry, Research Assistant Professor
  • Homewood Children’s Village Full-Service Community School Education Pipeline, John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement and Aliya Durham, Assistant Professor and Director of Community Engagement
  • Pitt Assisted Communities and Schools Program in Homewood - Program Operational Support, John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement and James Huguley, Interim Director, Center on Race and Social Problems and Assistant Professor
  • The SPIN Project: Spaces and People in Neighborhoods for Positive Youth Development, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Child Welfare Education and Research Programs, Helen Cahalane, Principal Investigator
  • Child Welfare Resource Center (CWRC) , Helen Cahalane, Principal Investigator
  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services Training Program and Student Internships, Helen Cahalane, Principal Investigator
  • Navigation and Parent Peer Support to Promote Access and Retention of Children in Mental Health Services, Elizabeth M.Z. Farmer, Dean
  • Redefining Resilience and Reframing Resistance: Evaluation of a Violence Prevention and Health Promotion Empowerment Program for Black Girls, Sara Goodkind, Associate Professor
  • Preventing Violence and Improving Community Mental Health in Fineview & Perry Hilltop (Intergenerational Community-based Intervention focused on building collective efficacy and social connections for the prevention of youth and community violence and the promotion of community mental health), Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor
  • Enhancing Safety and Well-Being for Ohio’s Children and Families. Deborah Moon, Assistant Professor
  • Get Safe: Youth Social Networks and Activity Spaces, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • From Data Literacy to Collective Data Stewardship: Technology-Supported Community-Driven Solutions for Urban Youth, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor

 

Close the health gap
  • Center for Interventions to Enhance Community Health (CiTECH)
  • Homewood Children’s Village Full-Service Community School Education Pipeline, John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement and Aliya Durham, Assistant Professor and Director of Community Engagement
  • Redefining Resilience and Reframing Resistance: Evaluation of a Violence Prevention and Health Promotion Empowerment Program for Black Girls, Sara Goodkind, Associate Professor
  • The SPIN Project: Spaces and People in Neighborhoods for Positive Youth Development, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Get Safe: Youth Social Networks and Activity Spaces, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Black Maternal Caregivers' Engagement in HIV Care while Parenting Dependent Children Study, Laurenia Mangum, Doctoral candidate
  • Social Work Education Inclusivity of Sexual Health Curricula Study, Laurenia Mangum, Doctoral candidate
  • The CHURCH (Congregations as Healers Uniting to Restore Community Health) Project, PI: John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement, Co-PI: Deborah Moon, Assistant Professor Toya Jones, BASW Program Director and Assistant Professor
  • The CHURCH (Congregations as Healers Uniting to Restore Community Health ) Music Project, PI: Deborah Moon, Assistant Professor Co-PI: John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement, Toya Jones, BASW Program Director and Assistant Professor
Build healthy relationships to end violence
  • Translating TGQN Campus Climate Findings into Practice, Rachel Gartner, Assistant Professor and Adrian Ballard, Doctoral candidate
  • Families as Partners in Reducing Violence, Christina Newhill, Professor
  • Preventing Violence and Improving Community Mental Health in Fineview & Perry Hilltop (Intergenerational Community-based Intervention focused on building collective efficacy and social connections for the prevention of youth and community violence and the promotion of community mental health), Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor
  • Expect Respect Middle School: Preventing Severe and Lethal Violence among Youth with Prior Violence Exposure, Daniel Rosen, Professor
  • Understanding conflict and violence in families of persons with serious mental illness, Travis Labrum, Assistant Professor 
  • Get Safe: Youth Social Networks and Activity Spaces, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
Advance long and productive lives
  • Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education, Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, Elizabeth Mulvaney, Clinical Associate Professor
  • Opioid Workforce Expansion: Social Work Initiative for Program Professionals, Daniel Rosen, Professor
  • Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder, Shaun Eack, Professor and James and Noel Browne Chair
  • Change-Sensitive Measurement of Adult Functional Outcomes in Developmental Disabilities, Shaun Eack, Professor and James and Noel Browne Chair
  • Cognitive Enhancement for Persistent Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia Developing a Gold Standard for Tracking Adult Functional Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Shaun Eack, Professor and James and Noel Browne Chair
  • Implementation of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Verbal Adults with Autism Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Shaun Eack, Professor and James and Noel Browne Chair
  • Web-Based Training and Community Implementation of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, Shaun Eack, Professor and James and Noel Browne Chair
  • Dimensional Outcomes and Neural Circuitry Associated with Psychosis Risk, Shaun Eack, Professor and James and Noel Browne Chair
  • Center for Integrated Health Care Delivery and Prevention Program, Daniel Rosen, Professor
  • Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia Among Older Chinese Immigrants: The Role of Activity, Engagement, Immigration Experience, and Neighborhood Environments, Fengyan Tang, Professor
  • Grandparents raising grandchildren: A Strength-Based Perspective and Intervention, PI: Fengyan Tang, Professor and Co-PI: Elizabeth M.Z. Farmer, Dean
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Human Service Organizations and the Essential Services They Provide, Rafael Engel, Associate Professor
  • Assessing the Effects of COVID-19 on the Economic, Health, Mental Health, Workplace and Family Well-being of Health Care Workers, Associate Professors Rafael Engel, Sara Goodkind, Jeffrey Shook
  • Evidence-Based Chronic Pain Management in Primary Care, LauraEllen Ashcraft, Doctoral candidate
  • Expanded Outpatient Substance Use Services, LauraEllen Ashcraft, Doctoral candidate
  • Dissemination and Implementation of Evidence-based Chronic Pain Management Among Primary Care Providers, LauraEllen Ashcraft, Doctoral candidate

Stronger social fabric

Eradicate social isolation
  • Preventing Violence and Improving Community Mental Health in Fineview & Perry Hilltop (Intergenerational Community-based Intervention focused on building collective efficacy and social connections for the prevention of youth and community violence and the promotion of community mental health), Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor
  • Factors associated with perceived social isolation among family caregivers of persons with mental illness, Travis Labrum, Assistant Professor 
  • The SPIN Project: Spaces and People in Neighborhoods for Positive Youth Development, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Get Safe: Youth Social Networks and Activity Spaces, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
End homelessness
  • None at this time
Create social responses to a changing environment
  • Cyber Awareness: PGH Blueprint, Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor
Harness technology for social good
  • The SPIN Project: Spaces and People in Neighborhoods for Positive Youth Development, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Get Safe: Youth Social Networks and Activity Spaces, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • From Data Literacy to Collective Data Stewardship: Technology-Supported Community-Driven Solutions for Urban Youth, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Developing and Evaluating Social Work Teletherapy Continuing Education Course, PI Deborah Moon

Just society

Eliminate racism

 

 

  • Research on Barriers to Fair Housing Choice in the City of Pittsburgh, Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor and Co-PI: Jaime Booth, Associate Professor Strengthening Resident Civic Engagement on Behalf of Equitable Development: Partnering for Community-Based Participatory Research in Homewood (Research for Equity and Power), Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor

 

Promote smart decarceration
  • Behavioral Health Treatment, Neighborhoods, and Housing: How Services and Social Circumstances Affect Criminal Recidivism, Leah Jacobs, Assistant Professor
  • Housing Instability and Recidivism: Understanding Risk and Sources of Systematic Discrimination, Leah Jacobs, Assistant Professor
  • Improving Juvenile Indigent Defense and Health through Holistic Representation, Jeffrey Shook, Associate Professor
Build financial capability for all
  • Optimizing family representative payeeship for persons with mental illness, Travis Labrum, Assistant Professor 
Reduce extreme economic inequality
  • From Barely making it To . . .? Effect of Raising Wages among Low-Wage Workers and Their Families, Rafael Engel, Associate Professor and Co-PIs:  Sara Goodkind,  Associate Professor and Jeffery Shook, Associate Professor
  • Understanding the Effects of the Benefits Cliff on Low-Wage Workers and their Young Children, Sara Goodkind, Associate Professor and Co-PI: Jeffrey Shook, Associate Professor
  • Raising the Minimum Wage to $15: Effects on Pittsburgh Nonprofit Human Service Organizations, Jeffrey Shook, Associate Professor
  • COVID-19 Study. Impact of COVID-19 on low wage workers and nurses, Rafael Engel, Associate Professor, Sara Goodkind,  Associate Professor and Jeffery Shook, Associate Professor
  • COVID-19 Impact of COVID-19 on nonprofit organizations. Rafael Engel, Associate Professor, Sara Goodkind,  Associate Professor and Jeffery Shook, Associate Professor
Achieve equal opportunity and justice
  • LCSW Training Institute & LSW Supervision Matching Program, Molly Allwein, Director of Professional Education
  • African American Students’ Sociocultural Experiences, Motivation, Identity and Performance in Math, James Huguley, Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems
  • In Spite of Parents? Examining the Value of Family Involvement in Educating African American Adolescents, James Huguley, Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems
  • Just Discipline Initiative and Just Discipline Regional Impact Model, James Huguley, Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems
  • Strengthening Resident Civic Engagement on Behalf of Equitable Development: Partnering for Community-Based Participatory Research in Homewood (Research for Equity and Power), Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor
  • Research on Barriers to Fair Housing Choice in the City of Pittsburgh, Mary Ohmer, COSA Chair and Associate Professor and Co-PI: Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Homewood Children’s Village Full-Service Community School Education Pipeline, John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement and Aliya Durham, Assistant Professor and Director of Community Engagement
  • Justice Scholars Program, John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement
  • Pitt Assisted Communities and Schools Program in Homewood - Program Operational Support, John Wallace, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement and James Huguley, Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems
  • Get Safe: Youth Social Networks and Activity Spaces, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • From Data Literacy to Collective Data Stewardship: Technology-Supported Community-Driven Solutions for Urban Youth, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • The SPIN Project: Spaces and People in Neighborhoods for Positive Youth Development, Jaime Booth, Associate Professor
  • Browne Leadership Fellows Program, , Aliya Durham, Assistant Professor and Director of Community Engagement
  • Hill House Fellowship Program (Community Engagement Fellowship), Alicia Melnick, Field Education Coordinator and Lecturer and Aliya Durham, Assistant Professor and Director of Community Engagement
  • Home and School Visitor Training Program, Deborah Robinson, Field Education Coordinator and Lecturer
  • Living Learning Community