MEETING THE CHALLENGE
Why, after decades of research and effort on so many fronts, does the scourge of alcohol misuse remain entrenched in society?
For Drs. Audrey Begun and John Clapp of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, and 31 of their colleagues, what’s needed is a vision as vast as the problem. What’s needed is a unified, concerted strategy that employs the best minds and most effective weapons from multiple disciplines, a plan founded on the latest research and best practices from the fields of social work, biology, medicine, psychology, public health, economics, engineering and geography, among others.
The vision, outlined in a concept paper first-authored by Begun and Clapp, has been accepted by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) as part of its inaugural Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative. Titled “Reducing and Preventing Negative Consequences of Alcohol Misuse,” the paper includes contributions from social work scholars from around the world.
Contemporary research approaches make it possible to address increasingly complex problems such as alcohol misuse, the authors note, and emerging technology gives contributors the ability to capture new types of data to analyze the problem and offer practical solutions.
The paper, along with other accepted proposals, will be published on the AASWSW website and in other publications. Academy President Richard Barth said members will generate interest among policymakers and potential funders for implementing what has been proposed.
The Grand Challenges initiative, announced in January, seeks to solve the most pressing societal problems through innovations in social work science and practice. Areas identified include ending racial injustice, reducing mass incarceration, stopping family violence and achieving health equity, an area that Begun and Clapp’s paper addresses.
Founded in 2009 by major social work organizations, the AASWSW serves to advance the public good and contribute to a sustainable, equitable and just future—a goal that aligns compellingly with the concept of grand challenges.