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Dr. Michael Kelly

How “Grand” Are the Grand Challenges?: A Critical Discussion on the Evidence Supporting Social Work’s Grand Challenges Initiative

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“I think there is a number of [implications]. . . I think that [our] paper, even in its kind of mid-state form, is making a very compelling argument, in our view, that all of these grand challenges would benefit from backing up and doing a critical review of what we know.”

Dr. Michael Kelly

In this episode, our guest Dr. Michael Kelly explores current criticisms pertaining to the formation of the 12 Grand Challenges for the field of Social Work. He describes his research examining whether compelling evidence exists to support addressing the defined problem areas within 10 years. The episode concludes by arguing that a more rigorous approach is needed to inform the Grand Challenge initiative and to develop and discuss social work issues.

Michael S. Kelly, PhD, LCSW, is professor and director of the Family and School Partnerships Program at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work. Prior to coming to Loyola in Fall 2006, he was a school social worker, family therapist, and youth minister in the Chicago area. He has written over 64 articles, book chapters, and books on school social work and evidence-based practice (EBP). His most recent books are 2015’s School Social Work: Research, Practice, and Policy (8th Ed.) and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in Schools: A 360-Degree View of Research and Practice (2nd Ed.). He is a fellow of the Oxford Symposium for School-Based Family Counseling, and the associate editor of School Mental Health Journal and the new open-access journal International Journal of School Social Work. Dr. Kelly has recently brought his work on school mental health and EBP to researchers and practitioners in Canada, Chile, England, Japan, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

Interviewer: Peter Sobota, MSW

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