The Grand Challenges of Social Work is the lead program of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW). This initiative champions social progress powered by science. It is a call to action for social work practitioners and researchers to come together to eradicate intractable social problems in our society.
Social Workers & The Society
Social workers are change agents that transform our society. They have led the way in developing private and charitable organizations to serve people and address society’s needs. Social workers are present in many industries, and they bring the public’s attention to our nation’s social problems. In the wake of anti-racism protests all over the United States and many parts of the world, on June 26, 2020, the AASWSW announced its 13th Grand Challenge – Eliminate Racism.
This historical decision by AASWSW also comes at a time where the world is going through a pandemic. The health disparities and inequities that exist between different racial/ethnic groups points to the effects of racism in the United States. The disproportionate impact of COVID19 in the black community is a perfect example of the problem of racism in the American health system. The black community does not have the same opportunities to be healthy. As a result, racism hugely impacts their health outcomes.
In addition, when compared to their white counterparts, the life expectancy of black Americans is lower. Many research studies have concluded that the mistrust between the black community and the healthcare system plays a significant role in the health outcomes; however, research is limited on why the mistrust exists in the first place. Racism is woven into the fabric of this society and should be thoroughly examined and discussed as the cause of racial health disparities and inequities.
The Grand Challenge Effort
The Grand Challenge effort to Eliminate Racism will be led by Martell Teasley, Ph.D., MSW, and Michael S. Spencer, Ph.D., MSSW. Dr. Teasley stated,
“The United States is built on a legacy of racism and white supremacy that has consistently and significantly impacted people’s daily lives of people.”
The Grand Challenge will concentrate on ending the mistreatment of black people and creating and organizing culturally-grounded upstream prevention and interventions that will eradicate the disadvantages faced by marginalized populations. The poor health outcomes of black America is based on decades of discrimination and social isolation and its time to tackle this problem at its core.
For more information about this post, please refer to the references below.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (n.d.). Retrieved July 03, 2020, from https://www.socialworkers.org/News/Facts/Social-Work-History
Grand Challenges for Social Work. (2020, June 26). Retrieved July 03, 2020, from https://grandchallengesforsocialwork.org/grand-challenges-for-social-work/announcing-the-grand-challenge-to-eliminate-racism/
American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (2018). Grand challenges of social work: Close the health gap. http://aaswsw.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/180604-GC- health-gap.pdf