The Grand Challenges initiative aims to tackle our society’s most challenging social problems, with solutions based in science. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare initiated the program in 2016, and NASW has long supported the effort, with NASW CEO Angelo McClain serving on the leadership committee.
Beginning with 12 Grand Challenges, a 13th challenge, which focuses on eliminating racism, was added in 2020. In the past, we have written about each of the challenges on their own. In this issue’s cover story, we look at the program overall as it evolves to meet society’s changing needs and discuss why it was important to add the Challenge to Eliminate Racism.
NASW continues its work addressing racism through chapter and national advocacy and partnerships, forums, webinars, tool kits and other publications. You can find out more on our Racial Justice Resource page.
In this issue’s second feature article, you will read about social workers who no longer have to pay back their student loans, thanks to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. NASW has been instrumental in advocating for student loan forgiveness nationwide and helping to inform social workers about PSLF program benefits and requirements.
In Association News, we write about the urgency of voting in the midterm elections this November, and what is at stake. NASW is active in several coalitions and has a voter participation resource page. The chapter pages highlight a new popular student benefit led by our Michigan Chapter. And in the Schools of Social Work section, we visit animal therapy social work education programs in three states.
October is a busy month for NASW — and for social work. We are celebrating the association’s 67thanniversary, the Code of Ethics is recognizing its 62nd year, and the NASW Legal Defense Fund turns 50. October also includes numerous important observances for the social work community, including world diversity, domestic violence awareness, breast cancer awareness, mental health and wellness, ending homelessness, LGBTQ+ history, and support for older persons.
In November, we honor our nation’s veterans and celebrate Native American heritage. There are many more issues and topics to be acknowledged in the coming months, and we look forward to covering social work’s impact in each area.
Until next time,